THE PIZZA DELIVERY ROBOT: A new way to get a takeaway

Sydney, Australia

VIJAY SHAH via Future Stores

 

In a move that will send shivers down the spines of pizza delivery drivers everywhere, but also spell the end of late and cold deliveries of your favourite ham and pineapple, an Australian robotics company has partnered with a well-known pizza chain in releasing a robot specially designed to deliver pizzas with a side order of innovative artificial intelligence.

Marathon Robotics, based in Sydney, has started collaborating with the international fast food company Domino’s to herald a wave of technology that will bring freshly-cooked meals to customers’ doorsteps entirely autonomously.

800px-dominos_pizza_providencia

 

The company has unveiled a self-driving miniature robotic vehicle called a ‘Domino’s Robotic Unit’ or DRU –  a small white squat cylinder that sits on a chassis with four caterpillar wheels for use currently in Australia. The robots work by using GPS data collected by Domino’s existing human delivery staff, and armed with an array of sensors and inbuilt artificial intelligence (AI) technology, it can effortless travel down pavements and cross streets, taking to care to not get in the way of any pedestrians, street furniture or other obstacles the DRUs encounter.

According to Future Stores, a site published by WBR, the cylindrical part of the DRU is a special insulated hold which carries the pizzas and side dishes, keeping them at an optimal temperature, preventing hot and cold drinks and foods from all going lukewarm. The DRU can also judge the surrounding terrain and adjust its speed and direction accordingly, and its sensors can even calibrate the DRU so that the toppings do not slide off the pizza, a common grievance of pizza fans everywhere. This is a huge change in direction for Marathon Robotics, which usually produces robotic ‘moving targets’ for military use.

In a statement published on their website, Domino’s Australia announced “[the DRU is] our newest recruit to the Domino’s family. He might look a little different to our current team of delivery experts and that’s because he is! DRU is an autonomous delivery vehicle and is set to take the world by storm. With sleek, refined forms combined with a friendly persona and lighting to help customers identify and interact with it, DRU is a world first in the space of commercial autonomous delivery.” 

The company decided to invest in the collaboration with Marathon Robotics due to increasing online orders via online apps and its website, a trend in technology that have made food delivery more popular across the globe. This extra demand has however placed increasing strain on Domino’s delivery fleet, forcing the firm to explore further options while saving revenues.

In light of current controversies on robots replacing living and breathing human workers playing out across the technosphere, Domino’s do not plan to sack all their delivery drivers though and replace them with DRUs thankfully. Instead they will use the robots to transport smaller orders, while letting their staff handle larger orders too big for the robots to carry, such as party catering requests. Domino’s predict the DRU fleet will enable it to save on fuel and time costs for sending out drivers to an address to deliver smaller orders, while freeing up delivery staff for their bigger jobs.

Domino’s, which is the seventh-largest fast food restaurant chain by number of locations in the world, with 15,000 restaurants, and the world’s largest in terms of sales, is no stranger to using technology to get piping hot pizza pies to hungry punters. In 2013, it completed the world’s first ever pizza delivery by air, with the help of a drone nicknamed the ‘DomiCopter’, which only took a few minutes from kitchen to customer.

The robots are still under development by the robotics firm, but plans of an eventual international rollout should the autonomous delivery project be successful are already being mooted.

 

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

markITwrite, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/markITwrite

“Marathon Robotics Has Built a Self-Driving Pizza Delivery Robot for Domino’s” – WBR Insights, Future Stores/WBR https://futurestoreseast.wbresearch.com/dominos-marathon-robotics-self-driving-pizza-delivery-robot-strategy-ty-u

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Domino’s Pizza Providencia.jpg” – Carlos yo, Wikimedia Commons (17 August 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Domino%27s_Pizza_Providencia.jpg

 

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