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Kiwis claim another world-first with pizza delivery by drone

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 11:09
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Domino's Pizza Enterprises Ltd has joined forces with US-based self-proclaimed "flying robot" operator Flirtey for the world's first commercial drone pizza delivery, the fast-food company said Thursday.

[WELLINGTON] New Zealand led the world when it gave women the vote and introduced inflation targeting. Now it's claiming another world-first: pizza delivery by drone.

Domino's Pizza Enterprises Ltd has joined forces with US-based self-proclaimed "flying robot" operator Flirtey for the world's first commercial drone pizza delivery, the fast-food company said Thursday.

Domino's will start trialing the service in New Zealand later this year and is also looking at using drones in Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany.

"We've always said that it doesn't make sense to have a two-ton machine delivering a two-kilogram order," Domino's Group chief executive officer Don Meij said in a statement.

"The reach that a drone offers is far greater than other current options which are restricted by traffic, roads and sheer distance."

Companies worldwide are increasingly looking to drones as a viable and more efficient delivery option, with Amazon announcing plans to use them for small packages once safety and regulatory hurdles have been cleared. New Zealand last year introduced new aviation rules to regulate and enable the use of drones for commercial purposes.

The government has also reviewed laws for driverless vehicles and is "actively promoting New Zealand as a test bed for new transport technology," transport minister Simon Bridges said in a separate statement welcoming the trial.

Out of the Air

Domino's said when the trial commences, the drones will fly autonomously at an altitude of approximately 60 metres (197 feet) and the customer will be notified as the delivery approaches. The pizzas are then lowered out of the air, ensuring the drones remain a safe distance from the public.

"Customers will be excited by a drone delivering their pizzas from the store to their door," Mr Meij said.

While pizzas have reportedly already been delivered by drone, including by a restaurant in Mumbai, Domino's said its New Zealand trial will be "the first commercial drone delivery service" in the world.

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