|March 20th, 2016||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2013
New Zealand could become first country to use Domino's pizza delivery robot
So today, we found out the Government is working with Domino's to test the company's autonomous pizza delivery unit, named DRU.
Domino's says DRU, which bears a striking resemblance to the robot EVE from Pixar's WALL-E, has been built with "sleek, refined forms combined with a friendly persona".
The prototype has separate compartments to keep pizzas hot and drinks cold, while travelling on the footpath "at a safe speed" from the store to the customer's door.
Domino's says the robot is able to select the best path en route to its destination, with on-board sensors allowing it to see - and avoid - obstacles along the way.
OK. So far so good. But, let's be honest here, there are questions.
How will DRU navigate the hills of Wellington, the quake-cracked streets of Christchurch, or gridlock in Auckland? How will he make it anywhere before the pizza gets cold, with those tiny little wheels?
Will he come equipped with a taser to defend himself from drunken vandals intent on prying the pizza from his insides? How will he ring doorbells, or get up stairs?
If he falls over, will he be able to prop himself back up, or will he just lie on his side, contemplating the futility of existence as his wheels spin and the (battery) life starts to drain from his body?
'IT COULD PUT US ON THE MAP'
Domino's NZ general manager Scott Bush said the robot had been in development "for the best part of 12 months" as part of the company's focus on technology and innovation.
Bush said tests in controlled environments on Brisbane streets had gone well, although DRU had required "a little bit of" human control at points.
The company was aware of the risk of theft and vandalism and was looking into security alarms "and all sorts of funky things" to protect against interference, while the robot would be waterproof.
With speed an issue and a maximum range of 20 kilometres before recharging was needed, Bush acknowledged the prototype required further development, but said it was "not a gimmick - it's reality".
New Zealand could become first country to use Domino's pizza delivery robot | Stuff.co.nz