What's an acceptable time to wait for a pizza delivery? 30 minutes? 15 minutes? Our expectations around home-delivered hot cheese may soon change, thanks to the arrival of flying pizza pies. Domino's has marked the beginnings of the pizza-by-drone era, carrying out the first store-to-customer delivery in New Zealand today.
Domino's has toyed with the idea of drone-delivered pizza for a little while, showing off a promotional "DomiCopter" back in 2013. But back in August it showed it wasn't messing around, teaming up with US-based drone company Flirtey and gaining approval to kick off trials in New Zealand.
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And following daily testing and tweaks to the hardware and software, Domino's has now gone ahead and loaded a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza and a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza into a drone's undercarriage and sent it on its way. Flirtey's drone flew autonomously using GPS to the customer's home in Whangaparaoa, 25 km (15.5 mi) north of Auckland. And then at 11:19 am, it lowered the meal down onto a designated landing zone by cable.
Eating pizza at that time of morning may or may not be legal, but there can be no questions about the legality of the delivery method. Flirtey gained permission from New Zealand's Civil Aviation authority to carry out the deliveries and CEO Matt Sweeney has previously told us that with some of the most liberal aviation laws in the world, the country is ahead of the curve in integrating drones into its airspace.
With this first delivery under its belt, Domino's says it is now working to expand the service across greater distances and with greater payloads, and although we're not quite there yet, we are getting closer to a time when you can push a button on your smartphone and be diving into a drone-delivered pizza less than 10 minutes later. It also says it is looking into expanding the service to Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.
You can watch the delivery play out and hear from those involved in the video below.