Whangaparaoa, New Zealand – It is the dawning age of personal and commercial aerial drones use. No longer is this technology exclusively available for covert military and intelligence gathering missions, as prospective drone use increases in the private sector. Dominos Pizza is the latest company to foray into everday drone use. This month the pizza chain began implementing drone technology for their home delivery orders in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand and will serve as a proverbial petri dish for integrating this flourishing technology.
By Paul K. DiCostanzo Managing Editor
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With a current delivery radius of roughly 1 mile, Domino’s new autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or drones, are making an important – albeit limited – introduction into the world of commercial pizza delivery. Surprisingly, what would have been a complicated technological feat six years ago, it is now a streamlined digital operation.
When a pizza is ready for delivery, the pie is loaded into the familiar cardboard Domino’s box and inserted into a secure cache located on the belly of the drone. The drone lifts-off toward the address programmed for its delivery destination. Upon arrival, the drone lowers the pizza via a cable into the yard of the customer. Once the drone has transferred its cargo, it returns to the home restaurant.
At present Dominos UAX delivery is only available in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand. Dominos is first looking to expand its delivery range to six miles during the next stage of development while they expand to other New Zealand Domino’s locations. However, the biggest hurdle Domino’s faces currently is not logistical but legal.
Delivery Drone Legal Obstacles
At present, the legal status of personal and commercial UAV’s differ dramatically from nation to nation. New Zealand is notably accommodating and open to novel drone applications. Other countries in which Domino’s have a franchise are still formulating policies regulating drones’ commercial application.
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In neighboring Australia, for example, commercial drone delivery is illegal. This is also holds true for the United States. Concerns regarding personal privacy and operating air space safety prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) current policy requiring drones to be flown only in a direct line of eyesight to its operator. While it does seem likely that the FAA will amend their policies on commercial UAV’s in the future, it cannot come quick enough for many companies.
Shopping website Amazon has been at the forefront of developing commercial drone use in the United States. The company plans to integrate UAV delivery in their upcoming Amazon Prime Air program which advertises delivery of purchases 5lbs or less in 30 minutes. At present, however, Amazon – like other companies – must sit and wait on further commercial drone use while current FAA regulations stand.
For now, Domino’s looks to learn and adapt from their new system in New Zealand. Undoubtedly drone delivery is a technological phenomenon that will become far more commonplace in the near future. The Domino’s delivery case study will likely generate useful information and pave the way for its use in everyday life.
Watch The Process First Hand!
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Sources: Business Insider, Dominos Pizza, CNBC, CNET