Fast food chain Domino’s has joined forces with Starship Technologies to launch a robotic pizza delivery service in Europe.
The pilot will take place via the pizza firm’s DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit) initiative though which new-generation delivery technologies are being assessed. Two countries’ cities – in Germany and The Netherlands – will host trials that’ll see pizzas autonomously delivered across distances reaching one mile. DRU’s role in this will be that of overseer. Its participation follows ground and air-based delivery system trials staged last year.
“We’re shared in our vision with Domino’s to constantly improve convenience for the customer”, explains Starship Technologies’ CEO, Ahti Heinla. “Not only is Domino’s pizza delicious, but the perfect topping is giving back the luxury of time and control to the customer, and our robots are best placed to offer this.”
Robotic Pizza Deliveries
So far as Domino’s Group MD and CEO Don Meij is concerned, the two firms’ tie-up represents the logical next step towards routine robotic pizza deliveries. “We are a global company and we are eager to progress innovative technology in all of the countries in which we operate – we are very excited to be partnering with Starship as it brings regular deliveries by robot one step closer to commercial operations”, he comments.
“Robotic delivery units will complement our existing delivery methods, including cars, scooters and e-bikes, ensuring our customers can get the hottest, freshest-made pizza delivered directly to them, wherever they are. With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this.”
Autonomous Delivery Robots
Starship Technologies’ autonomous delivery robots are designed to perform autonomous but human-monitored journeys of up to two miles, taking between 15-to-30 minutes to complete.
Starship Technologies describes them as the first commercially-available products of their kind. Each can carry a maximum payload of 10 kilograms, packages being inserted into the delivery compartment. This cargo bay is 16 inches long by 13.5 inches wide by 13 inches high. The robot itself is 27 inches long, 22 inches wide and stands 22 inches above the ground. Its empty weight is 18 kilograms.
Interacting with standard pedestrian traffic, the robot generally sticks to pavement areas and uses a GPS/Computer vision combination to navigate. Obstacle detection, taking the form of a peripheral ‘bubble’, ensures it’s able to avoid people, animals and objects.
Top speed is presently restricted to four miles per hour but will be increased to 10 miles per hour in due course. Maximum endurance is around two hours, starting with a full-charged battery.
Pizza delivery robot images copyright/courtesy Starship Technologies