Robot delivery looms for NZ pizza lovers

By Aimee Shaw

The autonomous pizza delivery unit designed by Domino's Pizza and Australian start-up, Marathon Robotics.
The autonomous pizza delivery unit designed by Domino's Pizza and Australian start-up, Marathon Robotics.

Domino's says it's working with the Government on a plan to permit robot pizza delivery to hungry New Zealanders.

The government and Domino's Pizza are working to explore and test driverless pizza delivery options with a four-wheeled unit named DRU (Domino's Robotic Unit).

Minister of Transport Simon Bridges said the use of the robot is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand, which is one of the first countries in the world being considered for testing autonomous pizza delivery.

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"DRU is an early prototype, but the fact that New Zealand is being considered as a test site shows we have the right settings to attract innovation."

New technology and encouraging innovation is a government priority, Bridges said.

"Over the last 12 months I've been actively and aggressively promoting New Zealand as a test bed for new transport technology trials. Our enabling laws and regulation means we have the ideal environment to trial all forms of technology," he said.

"Last year we put in place a new world-class framework for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), we've reviewed the laws for driverless vehicles and we are currently reviewing Small Passenger Services settings to put New Zealand at the forefront of transport innovation."

If the testing is successful, the driverless delivery vehicle could open a range of commercial opportunities, Bridges said.

WATCH: Company supplied video of Domino's delivery unit:

Video

The autonomous pizza delivery unit was designed by Domino's and Australian start-up Marathon Robotics.

Domino's group CEO and managing direcor Don Meij said autonomous vehicles create an impetus for innovation.

"This highlights what can happen when disruptive thinking is fostered."

DRU, which could spell the beginning of the end of the pizza delivery boy, has a sensory system that uses lasers to move around obstacles in its path to travel unassisted to a customer's address.

The autonomous pizza delivery unit designed by Domino's Pizza and Australian start-up, Marathon Robotics.
The autonomous pizza delivery unit designed by Domino's Pizza and Australian start-up, Marathon Robotics.

The robotic unit travels up to speeds of 20km/h and is designed to cruise on footpaths, trails and bike paths. When it reaches its destination, the customer enters a security code in their phone to tell the robot to open its locked storage compartment and deliver the pizza.

Domino's says it all began in 2015 with a microchip and a big idea and finished with months of testing.

Officials from the New Zealand Transport Agency are also collaborating on the testing.

- With additional reporting from AP.

- NZ Herald

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