Domino’s Pizza has raised the bar for cutting-edge pizza delivery technology. The company’s newest venture is a small, four-wheeled driverless droid called Domino's Robotic Unit, or DRU, which is being rolled out for test trials throughout New Zealand.
The autonomous pizza delivery vehicle is only three feet tall and can travel in a 12.5-mile radius before it needs to return to its base store for recharging. To avoid obstacles on sidewalks and roads, the droid uses onboard sensors and cameras. DRU has cold bays for soda and heated compartments that can hold up to 10 pizzas, which customers can access with a special code they're given once an order is placed.
In early 2015, Domino’s New Zealand and Australia worked together on designing DRU, which has an estimated cost of $30,000 per unit. Military contractors Marathon Robotics created the driverless vehicle and its software for the Australian army; Domino’s later commissioned the technology for commercial use for their stores.
"DRU is cheeky and endearing and we are confident that one day he will become an integral part of the Domino’s family," the chain's New Zealand general manager Scott Bush told the AFP. "He's a road to the future and one that we are very excited about exploring further."
The DRU is the latest effort from Domino’s to streamline the pizza ordering process. Recently, the fast food giant teamed with Amazon.com for quick pizza ordering through the Amazon Echo voice assistant device, allowing hungry customers to order items from their “Easy Order” list by just saying “I Want a Pizza."