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First Domino’s customer gets pizza by drone

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises claims it made the first commercial food delivery by drone yesterday.

A DRU Drone by Flirtey dropped off a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza and a Chicken and a Cranberry Pizza at a customer’s home in Whangaparaoa, 25km north of Auckland, shortly before midday on Wednesday.

The drone left from Domino’s Whangaparaoa store and made the delivery in under three minutes.

Domino’s has conducted successful drone delivery trials in the past, but this delivery was an important proof of concept for the commercial viability of the technology.

“Today’s successful delivery was an important proof of this concept, DRU Drone by Flirtey can deliver the highest-quality meal to our customers, safely, and we are delighted at this milestone,” Domino’s Group CEO and managing director Don Meij said.

But as convinced as Domino’s is about the future of drone delivery, many consider it a gimmick, or at best, a flight of fancy.

Internet Retailing founder and editor Mark Freidin doesn’t think drones will ever play a big role in the commercial delivery of pizzas or packages in mature markets with strict aviation regulations.

“Maybe this will happen in countries with fewer or no laws on safety, use of radio frequencies or airspace. However, the litigious nature of Australia and most ‘over’ developed countries will impede the use of these technologies until they can be deemed so safe that no one will suffer an injury or loss,” Freidin wrote in an opinion article.

But despite sceptics, Domino’s says it will conduct more drone deliveries to customers from its Whangaparaoa store this week and will use the information it gathers to expand drone flights to a larger delivery area next year.

“At the moment, these are controlled deliveries at the Domino’s Whangaparaoa store. We will take the learnings from these first orders and will use these to plan our next round of orders. Each store will be different as some will be more suitable for drone deliveries over others,” Domino’s Group chief digital officer Michael Gillespie told Internet Retailing.

Domino’s is looking at opportunities for drone delivery trials in its six other markets – Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.

“We are currently in discussions with various governments, and government agencies. The current legislation does not allow for these types of trials in Australia at this point in time. We hope to work closely with these government bodies so that we can deliver to Australian customers in the near future,” Gillespie said.

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