“Imagine a world in which your pizza is delivered by a driverless vehicle. A world in which you collect your piping hot Pepperoni Pizza and Garlic Bread from the compartment of a four wheeled robot named DRU. It might not be as far off as you first thought…”
In a ground-breaking, world-first initiative Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) has unveiled plans for its newest team member – an autonomous delivery vehicle named DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit). Now that’s outside the box!
While it won’t be taking to the New Zealand streets tomorrow, Domino’s has revealed the compact autonomous delivery prototype to demonstrate just how serious they are about informing regulation in this space.
The prototype has been purpose built with sleek, refined forms combined with a friendly persona and lighting to help customers identify and interact with it.
DRU is a four wheeled vehicle with compartments built to keep the customer’s order piping hot and drinks cold whilst traveling on the footpath at a safe speed from the store to the customer’s door.
DRU is currently able to navigate from a starting point to his destination, selecting the best path of travel. His on-board sensors enable him to perceive obstacles along the way and avoid them if necessary.
Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Don Meij said that autonomous vehicles were set to open up new opportunities and create an impetus for innovation for Domino’s globally and in New Zealand.
“This highlights what can happen when disruptive thinking is fostered - it turns into a commercially viable and revolutionary product.
“It allows Domino’s to explore new concepts and push the boundaries of what is possible for our customers. The DRU prototype is only the first step in our research and development as we continue to develop a range of innovations set to revolutionise the entire pizza ordering experience.”
The Company confirmed the idea for DRU came from within their internal innovation sessions and has been developed within Domino’s own Australian based DLAB, a purpose built lab aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs commercialise their ideas.
“With a dedicated innovation lab this project has been accelerated much faster than normal projects, without losing any of the quality control.”
DRU is powered by technology from start-up company, Marathon Robotics.
“To launch DRU from concept through to development of a prototype highlights the extraordinary talent and resources available on our doorstep – both with excellent external talent such as Marathon and the knowledge and experience of our internal team at Domino’s.”
While autonomous drones and cars still need to pass a number of regulatory hurdles and challenges before they’re delivering pizza on New Zealand streets, DRU shows that Domino’s is actively engaged in the field and working with global regulators on the future commercialisation of such technology.
Domino’s confirmed that DRU has been involved in a number of customer deliveries in restricted streets within the Australian market identified by the Queensland Department of Transport under special permit and is operated in semi-autonomous mode to ensure he complies with current regulation. The trials are a big step forward in commercialising fully autonomous delivery vehicles and the next step is to move to fully autonomous trials, and all eyes are on New Zealand for these tests.
New Zealand General Manager, Scott Bush states “With autonomous vehicles opening up possibilities for saving lives, saving time and moving goods more efficiently, we look forward to continuing our work in this field and leading the commercial trials so that our customers can reap the benefits.
“The possibility of DRU making an appearance in the trial and testing phase in New Zealand is very real, and is something we are excited about. We are working with the Ministry of Transport and the NZTA to ensure all relevant legislative requirements are met and we are pushing hard to get DRU on New Zealand roads in the near future.”
Mr Bush confirmed that DRU will one day fit into and enhance the existing team of delivery experts and when he does will be a welcomed addition to the team.
“DRU is cheeky and endearing and we are confident that one day he will become an integral part of the Domino’s family. He’s a road to the future and one that we are very excited about exploring further.”
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited owns the master franchise rights to seven markets globally including Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany. The Company runs and operates over 1900 stores throughout these markets. For more information visit www.dominos.com.au
For further information, interviews or images contact:
Emma Barnes, Communications Manager, Domino’s New Zealand
T| +64 21 084 22110 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org