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Meals on wheels: Domino’s autonomous robot to spice up pizza deliveries

Want to cash-in on the 2-4-1 pizza deal but don’t want to leave the comfort of your humble abode? Domino’s may have the answer ─ an autonomous robot named DRU.

DRU ─ short for Domino’s Robotic Unit ─ is a self-driving robot that uses technologies such as LIDAR and GPS tracking to take your preferred pizza from where it was cooked to your front door at speeds of up to 20km/h.

Upon arrival, all the recipient has to do is peel themselves off the sofa, answer the door and enter a unique code to unlock DRU’s insulated storage area where your pizzas are kept nice and toasty.

So far DRU has only been let loose on a number of restricted streets that local authorities would allow in the city of Queensland, but there’s a good chance it will spread to other cities and potentially other countries if all goes well.

Domino’s and Australian technology start-up Marathon Targets have been working on the robot for the last eight months. It is said to be the first of its kind and the idea came about when Domino’s realised it was unsafe using large vehicles to deliver relatively small items.

As Domino’s CEO Don Meji explained: “One of our inspirations for DRU is safety — it seems pretty crazy to us that we use one-and-a-half tonne vehicles to deliver a few hundred grams of pizza.”

DRU will start appearing in Domino’s stores within the next six months, but it could be up to two years before it becomes a common sight in Queensland.

It may seem like a clever idea, but we can smell a couple of glaring issues. Firstly, what’s to stop idiots from rolling the robot on its side, making you pizza-less and giving Domino’s a large repair bill?

Secondly, what about the poor bloke who delivers pizzas for a living? Domino’s says the robot is safer than a human when it comes to the job and it won’t take cigarette breaks so it’s only a matter of time before we bow to our pizza-delivering robot overlords.

Domino’s still has to work with global partners to ensure DRU is safe enough to be tested on roads and footpaths, plus the artificial intelligence side of things needs further work.

There’s a long way to go before DRU comes-a-knocking, then, assuming he makes it to your door at all.

Video: ‘Dru’ Domino’s Robotic Unit

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