Robotics

Domino's to deploy pizza delivery robots in Europe

Domino's to deploy pizza deliv...
To begin with, the robots will be accompanied by a human as they complete the deliveries
To begin with, the robots will be accompanied by a human as they complete the deliveries
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Starship's robots will begin delivering pizzas to customers within a one-mile radius of selected stores in Germany and the Netherlands
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Starship's robots will begin delivering pizzas to customers within a one-mile radius of selected stores in Germany and the Netherlands
Starship Technologies' electric six-wheeled robots are built to deliver good to local customers living within a two-mile range (3.2 km)
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Starship Technologies' electric six-wheeled robots are built to deliver good to local customers living within a two-mile range (3.2 km)
To begin with, the robots will be accompanied by a human as they complete the deliveries
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To begin with, the robots will be accompanied by a human as they complete the deliveries
Aerial drones get a lot of the fanfare, but ground-based robots could form an important part of our autonomous delivery future, too
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Aerial drones get a lot of the fanfare, but ground-based robots could form an important part of our autonomous delivery future, too
To begin with, the robots will be accompanied by a human as they complete the deliveries
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To begin with, the robots will be accompanied by a human as they complete the deliveries
Starship's robots will begin delivering pizzas to customers within a one-mile radius of selected stores in Germany and the Netherlands
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Starship's robots will begin delivering pizzas to customers within a one-mile radius of selected stores in Germany and the Netherlands

Aerial drones get a lot of the fanfare, but ground-based robots could form an important part of our autonomous delivery future, too. At least that's the way Domino's sees it, having enlisted rovers from startup Starship Technologies to deliver pizzas to select European cities.

Starship Technologies' electric six-wheeled robots are built to deliver goods to local customers living within a two-mile range (3.2 km). They do have a maximum speed of 10 mph (16 km/h), but will typically saunter along at more pedestrian-friendly 4 mph (6 km/h).

Last December, Starship completed the first online food order using one of its self-driving robots, and now Domino's wants to get in on the action. Today, the pair have announced a partnership that will see Starship's robots start delivering pizzas to customers within a one-mile radius of selected Domino's stores in Germany and the Netherlands.

Starship Technologies' electric six-wheeled robots are built to deliver good to local customers living within a two-mile range (3.2 km)
Starship Technologies' electric six-wheeled robots are built to deliver good to local customers living within a two-mile range (3.2 km)

To begin with, the robots will be accompanied by a human as they complete the deliveries just in case something goes wrong. The initiative is part of the Domino's Robotic Unit, the same arm of the company that has overseen its previous attempts at autonomous delivery robots and drones, the latter of which is currently being trialled in New Zealand.

"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," said Don Meij, Domino's Group CEO and Managing Director. "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."

Source: Starship Technologies

4 comments
Bob Flint
How does the person accompany the rover, walk along, or ride a bike? If something goes wrong, their priority is 1. deliver the pizza. 2. bring back the rover, either towing by hand or behind a bike? I can see this thing being fouled by a simple pothole or curb, and does it comprehend traffic lights, and stop signs along the way?
Anthony Maw
Maybe one for the science fiction movies but: Do you have to tip a robot pizza delivery droid ? LOL
swaan
@Bob Flint - They are not autonomous, they are controlled wirelessly by an operator. At least for now. Starship claims they are so cheap at they are not worth stealing either.
Daishi
I found an article from 2015 that said the robots cost less than $2,000 and will come down in price if they build them at scale. That's more than I paid for the cars I delivered in but there are other expenses with that too. Even in a semi-autonomous mode one person could probably remotely pilot several of these but there are still problems to solve like entering buildings and operating elevators. You could have it ask people nearby for assistance sometimes but you couldn't rely on that. It has cameras and sensors so it would be cool if when the person placed an order that it sent them a message like grubhub with an order # that could be used to stream a feed from it in realtime while it's on the way. At least then the people ordering can look for it and help ensure the safe delivery of the robot.