Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Pizza drones are go! Domino's gets NZ drone delivery OK

Aerial pizza delivery may sound futuristic but Domino's has been given the green light to test New Zealand pizza delivery via drones.

The fast food chain has partnered with drone business Flirtey to launch the first commercial drone delivery service in the world, starting later this year.

Domino's Group chief executive and managing director, Don Meij said the company had been investigating innovative and new delivery methods as business had grown.

This included looking at robotic delivery, which the government is still considering.

Details around where the trial would be held have been kept under wraps - however Domino's said it would use drone delivery alongside its usual delivery methods - and only where it would be faster than the use of a car or scooter.

It will offer drone delivery specials at the launch of the trial with plans to extend the dimensions, weight and distance of the deliveries throughout the trial, based on results and customer feedback.

The company will not offer the full range of its products for drone delivery - and only those customers within a certain distance from a store will be served from the air.

"With the increased number of deliveries we make each year, we were faced with the challenge of ensuring our delivery times continue to decrease and that we strive to offer our customers new and progressive ways of ordering from us," Meij said.

"Research into different delivery methods led us to Flirtey. Their success within the airborne delivery space has been impressive and it's something we have wanted to offer our customers," he said.

New aviation rules which came into force on August 1 last year allowing and control the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) for recreational and commercial purposes in New Zealand.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the government was continuing to review the laws to ensure New Zealand was at the forefront of the industry.

"As Transport Minister I have been actively promoting New Zealand as a test bed for new transport technology trials," Bridges said. "Our enabling laws and regulation means we have the ideal environment to trial all forms of technology."

"The trial is also a valuable opportunity for the Civil Aviation Authority, who are making sure that appropriate safety precautions are taken," he said.

According to Meij, the company had been investigating delivery options for a while, saying that it didn't make sense to have a two tonne machine delivering a two kilogram order.

He said the use of drones offered a faster and safer option as well as removing barriers such as traffic and distance, meaning they could deliver further afield and faster in urban areas.

"Domino's is all about providing customers with choice and making customer's lives easier," Meij said. "Adding innovation such as drone deliveries means customers can experience cutting-edge technology and the convenience of having their Supreme pizza delivered via air to their door. This is the future."

If it is successful the company plans to extend the delivery method to six other markets - Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.

Read a Domino's supplied Frequently Asked Questions document on the drone delivery trial here:

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 07 Dec 2016 22:03:49 Processing Time: 585ms