Whangaparaoa, New Zealand – It is the dawning age of personal and commercial aerial drones use. Drone technology however is no-longer exclusively available to the military for intelligence gathering and combat missions, as prospective drone use increases in the private sector. Dominos Pizza is the latest company to foray into everyday drone use. This month the pizza chain began implementing Dominos delivery drone technology for their home delivery orders in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand and will serve as a proverbial petri dish for integrating this flourishing technology.
Domino’s new autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or drones, are making an important – albeit limited – introduction into the world of commercial pizza delivery. Domino’s delivery drones currently have an operational radius of 1 mile.
Surprisingly, what would have been a complicated technological feat six years ago, is now a streamlined digital operation.
Pizza Delivery Drone Process
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.
Dominos UAV delivery is only available in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand at present. Dominos is first looking to expand its delivery range to six miles in the next stage of development, while they additionally expand to other New Zealand locations. However, the biggest hurdle Domino’s faces currently is not logistical but legal.
Delivery Drone Legal Obstacles Outside New Zealand
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.
Future UAV Possibilities
Amazon has been at the forefront of developing aerial drones for commercial use in the United States. The company plans to integrate UAV delivery for their upcoming Amazon Prime Air program, which touts delivery for purchases of 5lbs or less within 30 minutes.
Howver Amazon at present – like other companies – sits and waits on their commercial drone ambitions while current FAA regulations prevail.
Domino’s currently looks to learn from their New Zealand experiment, and adapt those lessons into their new system. Undoubtedly delivery drones are a technological phenomenon becoming far more commonplace.
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!
Write to Paul K. DiCostanzo at email@example.com
Follow Paul on Quartz!
Sources: Business Insider, Dominos Pizza, CNBC, CNET
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