Technology

SYDNEY (Web Desk) – Domino’s Australia has launched world’s first pizza delivery robot – which uses military laser technology to navigate the streets.

The American restaurant chain has been working in a development lab with Australian start-up company Marathon Robotics for about six months to create DRU, the world’s first autonomous delivery vehicle, the Mail Online reports.

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The white, four-wheeled robotic unit can travel up to speeds of 20 kilometres and is able to navigate the streets independently, with a built in sensory system that uses lasers to can identify obstacles and calculate the best path to take.

Inside DRU’s sleek white exterior lies a temperature-controlled box designed to keep your pizza’s piping hot and your drinks cold that rises up from inside the device to allow customers to collect their meal after imputing a unique code.

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“It seems pretty crazy to us that one and a half – two tonne vehicles deliver a few hundred grams of pizza in the neighbourhood,” Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij said.

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The Australian entrepreneur, who started out as a delivery driver himself, said the new system has the potential to reduce costs to the business like wages, but thinks it is unlikely DRU’s will be taking the jobs of young delivery drivers who make up a large percentage of the workforce.

“It pulls a lot of cost out of the business. Obviously labour is the number one cost; the whole management of our delivery fleet is expensive. But even when DRU hits the streets there will be people monitoring its performance.

“This will create jobs in Australia. As we move, jobs move,” he said.

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Consumers will have to meet the 190 kilogram robot out on the curb as he is not yet able to climb stairs or open doors.

The unit can travel around 20 kilometres on its rechargeable battery and while DRU’s power unit will be altered to give it more longevity in the future.

DRU’s autonomous delivery system will eliminate human error, like getting lost or in a car accident, which Mr Meij claims will only make Domino’s much safer.

While he would not disclose how much money had been invested in developing the world first technology, Mr Meij said there would be sophisticated security cameras fitted to the device that will instantly transmit images to the cloud in case a drunken vandal tries to damage the expensive robot.

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The delivery vehicle is able to negotiate rocky, sandy or muddy terrain but he will remain on footpaths and bike trails until Domino’s and each state’s roads and traffic authority are able to determine how DRU could safely utilise main roads without jeopardising the safety of pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers.

The announcement of Domino’s newest ‘team member’ was made in front of 11,000 franchisees at the company’s annual gala dinner earlier this week.

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It is yet to be determined whether franchisees will rent or purchase the devices to be used in store, but as they will need to be continually maintained it is likely Domino’s will own the androids.