For a pizza chain, Domino's actually has a pretty rich history of innovation. It's embraced social media, created a one-click Easy Order button and even built a delivery car that has its own pizza oven. Now it's looking at robots. More specifically: delivery robots. What you see here is DRU (Domino's Robotic Unit), an autonomous delivery vehicle built in collaboration withAustralian technology startup Marathon Targets that Domino's says is the first of its kind. It's filled with thousands of dollars worth of military robotics tech, but its covert mission has been to deliver fresh pizza to the residents of Queensland.
DRU is still in the prototype stage, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't been busy. Domino's worked with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads to ensure it met all the requirements to be set loose on the streets. It uses LIDAR, the same technology utilized by self-driving cars, to identify the surrounding environment and has built-in GPS tracking technology that syncs with Google Maps. It's actually very similar toStarship Technologies' eponymous delivery robots, which will soon hit the streets of London.
Lifehacker Australia reports that the robot's first deliveries customer were made in a number of restricted streets permitted by the local transport authorities. It's locked to prevent people from snagging some fresh pizza, so when it arrives at its destination, customers need to enter a mobile code that opens DRU's insulated storage (which has both hot and cool compartments).
Although DRU will initially be tested in Australia, Domino's says it's working with "global partners" to ensure the delivery droid meets the necessary requirements to be tested on roads and footpaths. Vehicles will start appearing in stores within the next six months, but it could take up to two years for pizza delivery shuttles to become a regular sight on the streets of Queensland.