Hot on the heels of the Starship delivery robot, Domino's has announced its own autonomous pizza delivery machine. Built on military technology, DRU (Domino's Robotic Unit) can keep pizza hot and drinks cold on the way to your house and is set to hit the streets of Australia in prototype form for testing.
Designed in Domino's DLAB innovation hub in Brisbane, Australia, DRU is built to handle short-range deliveries with very little human intervention, has a heated compartment to keep your capricciosa warm, and a chiller to keep your drinks cool, inbuilt GPS for navigation and a bunch of sensors to try to stop it from running into things on the pavement. Domino's says it is working with the government to build a legal framework in which it can start testing DRU in the real world.
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About that real world, then. I'm picturing this lonely little robot, rolling down a suburban street, full of pizza. And I'm remembering what an idiot I was when I was 17. And I'm thinking that as long as there are 17 year old boys, there will be people trying to mug DRU for pizzas, or just kick him over just to ruin somebody else's pizzas.
On this point, Domino's is suggesting DRU will carry some "surveillance and security" technology, which could help identify ratbag robot muggers, but probably not resuscitate a pizza that's been upside down. Given that DRU is built on a base platform sourced from the military, perhaps he can be equipped with other security options that might be much more effective for pizza protection.
DRU is part of a broader automation movement in the fast food industry that seeks to replace human workers with cheaper, more efficient and oftentimes more effective machines. And while Domino's has made fun of the concept in the past, the company swears that DRU is no April Fool's joke.
You can see DRU making its first delivery in the video below.