An autonomous pizza delivery vehicle that uses laser technology to navigate independently will be delivering pizzas this month in Australia.
The Domino’s Robotic Unit, or DRU, is a result of a six month project between Domino’s Pizza and Australian start-up company, Marathon Robotics.
The white, four-wheeled robotic unit can travel at speeds of up to 20 kilometres per hour and includes a built-in sensory system that uses lasers to identify obstacles and calculate the best path to take.
DRU has compartments that keeps the pizzas hot and drinks cold during delivery.
According to Marathon Robotics, the pizza-delivery technology has the potential for saving time, and for moving goods more efficiently and safely.
Domino’s will begin regular trial deliveries using DRU in a suburb in Brisbane on 24 April, although it has already been using DRU for some pre-approved orders as part of its testing phase. The company has plans to launch the robots in New Zealand, Belgium, France, Japan, the Netherlands, and Germany.
While DRU technically is ready for deployment, there is more that needs to be done in regards to public policy before it can be deployed routinely for pizza deliveries. Domino's has said that this time frame is unknown and will vary country by country.
And, while the pizza delivery vehicle is able to negotiate rocky, sandy or muddy terrain, it will need to remain on footpaths and bike trails until Domino's and each region's roads and traffic authority are able to determine how DRU could safely utilise main roads without jeopardising the safety of pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers.