Given the number of companies looking into drone deliveries, the skies seem destined to become more crowded in the near future. And it looks like Domino’s, the food franchise, could be the first to make commercial drone deliveries a reality.
The company has announced plans to trial a store-to-door delivery system using unmanned aerial vehicles later this year by demonstrating the first stage of its partnership with Flirtey, a drone delivery startup, in Auckland, New Zealand. The location of this first demonstration is no coincidence, given that New Zealand became” the first country in the world to legalise commercial drone deliveries in 2015.
The drones will work alongside the rest of the franchise’s delivery fleet, which includes electric scooters, e-bikes and Domino’s Robotic Unit that the company rolled out earlier this year. “This is the future,” said Don Meij, group managing director and CEO at Domino’s. “What drones allow us to do is to extend that 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.”
However, customers looking take advantage of the company’s aerial deliveries will have to wait until Domino’s launches the trial in late 2016. Hungry pizza aficionados should also be advised that the drones won’t be delivering all items on the menu and will only take to the skies if doing so means a shorter waiting time.
If the trial proves successful, Domino’s will look to roll out drone deliveries in Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany. “We are getting closer to the time where you can push a button on your smartphone and have Domino’s delivered by drone to your home,” said Matt Sweeny, CEO at Flirtey.
While there are no plans for the programme to take off in the UK any time soon, commercial drone deliveries could become a reality on these shores soon. In July, the government and Amazon joined forces in trials aimed at creating an environment where drones can be operated safely, beyond the line of sight, by 2020.
With this and Domino’s new programme in mind, things are certainly looking up for anyone feeling like giving their inner Gordon Ramsey a night off.