DRU : Pizzas & Robots

Domino’s Pizza has unveiled what is being called the “world’s first commercial autonomous delivery vehicle,” which debuted by delivering pizza to people in Australia. Although, it is expected be launched globally within the upcoming six months.

The DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit) has been developed in collaboration with Marathon Robotics, whom normally make targets for live-fire army training. Australia-based robotic company Marathon, created the first autonomous robotics for the Australian defense force in the late 2000s.

Instead of taking gunfire, the DRU can reach speeds of 12 miles per hour, it can overcome obstacles in its path, and even navigate fences and driveways – although you’ll have to collect your delivery from the curb for now.

Customers are sent a code that they then use to unlock the section of the robot that contains their items. The DRU will also chat to you while you pick up your pizza.

It weighs approximately 450 pounds and is able to store up to 10 pizzas at a time. The unit contains sensors as well as a battery, and can travel a maximum 12.5-mile radius from Domino’s locations and has cameras to catch any potential pizza snatchers in the act (or at least deter it).

As Forbes reports, DRU is reportedly fully autonomous, and sports a water-tight, weather-proof acrylic plastic exterior and aluminum and mild steel interior for keeping orders at their best. Like today’s self-driving cars, it uses LIDAR laser-light sensory technology to detect and navigate around obstacles along its journey, and also has a back-up system of traditional sensors (such as you’d find on home cleaning-bots) to ensure it reaches its destination safely.

The DRU will have its work cut out for it. Last year Domino’s unveiled a purpose-built pizza delivery vehicle which is essentially a heavily modified version of the 2015 Chevrolet Spark. The DXP can hold up to 80 pizzas at a time and the standard insulated carry-bag (typically used to keep pizzas warm) has been replaced by an entire oven that keeps pizzas heated at 140°F inside the vehicle.

What does DXP stand for, you ask?

DELIVERY EXPERT.

Right now, the robots are able to travel only on sidewalks that meet very specific criteria. If that’s the case, complications are foreshadowed by impractical routes that will delay customers from getting their food.

Along with this, are these robots able to climb stairs or ring a doorbell?

Who knows?

Still, if these machines are not able to climb stairs, that means certain customers might need to walk down the block to get their pizza.

With new minimum wage hike,  cut costs is core business for every Chief Financial Officer (CFO) throughout the world – looking to robotics as an alternative. The automation of the global workplace is spreading, and, as a Pew Poll recently found, 65% of Americans now believe their job will inevitably be done by robots.

The questions that come to mind : Will these robots completely replace human delivery drivers? Will customers get to choose between one or the other? How well are these things able to maneuver around?

And finally, will Dominos perfect this technology first or will it lose out to the likes of Amazon Prime or Google?

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