Domino’s is serious about pizza delivery robots

Domino's Starship robot

Pizza delivery giant Domino’s has struck a deal with a tech company to begin trialling autonomous delivery robots, which it hopes will fill a shortage of drivers it expects in 10 years.

The initial roll-out will be limited to Hamburg, Germany, but will see the robots come to Netherlands and beyond if the partnership with Starship Technologies proves a success.

Don Meij, Domino’s Group CEO and managing director, said that the chain’s growth plans for the next decade mean it won’t have enough delivery drivers and it will have to look to alternative methods.

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“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,” Meij 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.”

Starship’s six-wheeled robot can hold around four medium pizzas and runs at about 4mph on an electric motor. A number of cameras and ultrasonic sensors help it to navigate streets, where it is hoped greater delivery efficiency can be achieved in comparison to traditional delivery vehicles.

Foodservice operators are waiting to see how robotic food delivery technology plays out before wholly embracing it. Flying drones have largely been discounted by operators but a ground-based, simpler solution could prove more successful and popular.

Technology plays an important part in Domino’s marketing strategy and it has enabled pizza ordering on Twitter and in New Zealand has begun using delivery drones alongside another tech company.

Picture credit: Starship Technologies

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