Is this the first step towards a terrifying future where robots have taken over the world, or just a more convenient way of getting a pizza?
Starship Technologies is building a fleet of autonomous robots designed to deliver goods locally, and recently announced the launch of pizza deliveries in co-operation with Domino’s Pizza. The project is part of Domino’s DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit), an initiative using robot and drone technologies for delivery.
Starting this summer, the Starship robots will begin delivering pizzas within a 1-mile radius around Domino’s stores in selected German and Dutch cities. Thankfully, the robots in question do not in any way resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger’s murderous robot character in The Terminator movies. It’s pretty much just a box on top of six wheels that moves along at a speedy 4 mph.
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises is the largest franchisee of the Domino’s Pizza brand in the world, completing hundreds of thousands of deliveries every day from more than 2,000 stores across the company’s seven markets. DRU will oversee the partnership, after testing both ground and air based delivery solutions.
“We’re shared in our vision with Domino’s to constantly improve convenience for the customer,” said Ahti Heinla, Chief Executive Officer, Starship Technologies. “Not only is Domino’s pizza delicious, but the perfect topping is giving back the luxury of time and control to the customer, and our robots are best placed to offer this.”
The partnership between the company and Starship Technologies was an important next step in bringing robot pizza deliveries to reality, according to Don Meij, Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director.
“We are a global company and we are eager to progress innovative technology in all of the countries in which we operate — we are very excited to be partnering with Starship as it brings regular deliveries by robot one step closer to commercial operations,” he said. “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 our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this,” Meij added.
If you’re robot-phobic, however, don’t worry: Domino’s says that customers will have to request a robot delivery, otherwise you’ll just get the usual human version.