Thanks to highly publicised initiatives by companies like Amazon, drone deliveries have rarely been out of the spotlight. But it’s not just about deliveries from up above: pizza franchise Domino’s is now looking into using land-based autonomous robots to bring piping hot pizza direct to people’s doors.
Having partnered with London-based robot-development company Starship Technologies, the pizza franchise has unveiled plans to deliver pizzas using unmanned vehicles in selected German and Dutch cities within the next two months. The initiative is the latest from Domino’s Robotic Unit, which has previously delivered pizzas and peri-peri chicken with robots and drones in New Zealand.
And it certainly seems as if the trials are in safe hands: even though Starship Technologies was only launched in 2014, the startup has already signed similar partnerships with Just Eat, the food-delivery company, to deliver meals in the Greenwich area in London as well as with Hermes Parcel Delivery, the parcel delivery company; Swiss Post, the Swiss national postal service; and Wolt, the food-delivery company. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz Vans recently gave Starship Technologies a huge vote of confidence by leading its $17.2 million seed-funding round to help the startup accelerate its development of pilot programs in Europe and the US.
Domino’s is making no secret of the reason behind its interesting finding new ways to deliver pizzas either. Having announced plans to up its restaurants in the UK to 1,600 and to 400 in Germany, the company can’t afford not to look for new delivery methods. “With our growth plans over the next five to ten years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this,” said Don Meij, CEO and managing director at Domino’s Group. “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 technology changing at lightning speed, it seems some of the most innovative and ambitious franchises are embracing the opportunity in a bid to stay one step ahead of the competition.