by Simon Lord
last updated 28/08/2016
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a pizza!
by Simon Lord
last updated 28/08/2016
Domino’s will start trialling pizza delivery via drone next month in a world-first for New Zealand. The franchise has joined forces with Flirtey, the global leader in drone deliveries, to launch the first commercial drone delivery service in the world.
The two companies exhibited the first stage of their partnership with a demonstration of pizza delivery by drone in Auckland today The successful demonstration was also attended by the Civil Aviation Authority and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges.
The demonstration was conducted under Civil Aviation Rules Part 101 and marks a final step in Flirtey’s approval process, following which the partnership will aim to connect people with pizza via CAA-approved trial store-to-door drone deliveries from a selected Domino’s New Zealand store with flights to customer homes later this year.
New Zealand was selected as the launch market because its current regulations allow for businesses to embrace unmanned aircraft opportunities and enable the gradual testing of new and innovative technologies.
Order by phone, deliver by drone
Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Don Meij, said the company’s growth over the past few years had led to a significant increase in the number of deliveries.
‘We’ve always said that it doesn’t make sense to have a 2-tonne machine [a car] delivering a 2-kilogram order. We have invested heavily to provide our stores with different delivery fleet options such as electric scooters, e-bikes and even the Domino’s Robotic Unit - DRU that we launched earlier this year.
‘Research into different delivery methods led us to Flirtey. Their success within the airborne delivery space has been impressive and it’s something we wanted to offer our customers,’ Mr Meij said
The use of drones as a delivery method is designed to work alongside Domino’s current delivery fleet and will be fully integrated into online ordering and GPS systems.
‘What drones allow us to do is to extend our delivery area by removing barriers such as traffic and access, as well as offering a much faster, safer delivery option, which means we can deliver further afield than we currently do to our rural customers while reaching our urban customers in a much more efficient time.’ Domino’s will look to the results of the trial to determine where drones are implemented further.
It’s not pie in the sky – it’s really happening
The trial flights are set to commence later this year following the beginning of daylight saving in New Zealand (25 September).
‘We are working with Flirtey to ensure quality is a priority during the trials and are confident that customers will be excited by a drone delivering their pizzas from the store to their door.’
Domino’s will offer Drone Delivery Specials at the launch of the trial with the plans to extend the dimensions, weight and distance of the deliveries throughout the trial based on results and customer feedback.
‘These trial deliveries will help provide the insight we need to extend the weight carried by the drone and the distance travelled. It is this insight that we hope will lead to being able to consider a drone delivery option for the majority of our orders.
‘This isn’t a pie in the sky idea. It’s about working with the regulators and Flirtey to make this a reality for our customers,’ Mr Meij said.
Government on board
New aviation rules came into force on 1 August 2015 to regulate and enable the use of UAVs for recreational and commercial purposes in New Zealand and Transport Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed today’s announcement.
‘Domino’s and Flirtey have chosen New Zealand for the trial because our forward-thinking aviation regulations encourage innovation, while protecting safety,’ Mr Bridges says.
‘As Transport Minister I have been actively promoting New Zealand as a test bed for new transport technology trials. Our enabling laws and regulation means we have the ideal environment to trial all forms of technology.
‘The announcement of this trial confirms that New Zealand’s framework for UAVs is world-class. In addition, the Government has reviewed the laws for driverless vehicles and Small Passenger Service operators to ensure New Zealand stays at the forefront of transport innovation.
‘The trial is also a valuable opportunity for the Civil Aviation Authority, who are making sure that appropriate safety precautions are taken,’ Mr Bridges says.
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