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article imageDomino's Pizza to start delivering pizzas by robot in New Zealand

By Ken Hanly     Mar 19, 2016 in Business
Wellington - Adding to other innovations using new technology, Domino's Pizza is launching a new robotic delivery service using DRU or Domino's Robotic Unit built in Australia with the help of Marathon Robotics.
Pizza places have long used new technology to help pizza delivery by using apps such as Kinect. This allows hungry x-Box gamers to order and build a pizza through "hand motions or voice commands" to build their pizzas. However, Domino's added a voice ordering tool for its mobile app. The voice assistant is named Dom. Dom is able to recognize natural speech patterns. You can tell it you want to order a pizza and it will ask what kind: "Domino's says that the service "delivers a human-like, conversational customer service experience," that should speed up the ordering process compared to dealing with an actual human." Now Domino's has gone a giant step further by possibly eliminating the pizza delivery person as well.
The DRU was developed by Domino's Australia from a military robot. The DRU contains Domino's own GPS tracking data. It has a sensory system that uses lasers to avoid running into obstacles in its path on the way to the customer's address. The unit has four wheels and travels up to 20 kilometers per hour and is designed to cruise on footpaths, trails, and bike paths. When it reaches the proper address, the customer enters a security code through their phone that gets the robot to open a locked compartment to retrieve the pizza. The project began in 2015.
The battery-powered DRU will be undergoing trials in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. It is billed as "the world's first autonomous delivery vehicle." The DRU can complete deliveries within a 20 mile radius on a single charge. It is just under 3 feet tall and can deliver up to 10 pizza's in its heated compartment. The start date for the trial has yet to be announced. Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, said: "This is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand... over the last 12 months I’ve been actively and aggressively promoting New Zealand as a test bed for new transport technology trials."
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