Pizza delivered hot in 30 minutes … by drone? It can be done according to a report in Geekwire this week featuring Domino’s Pizza and Flirtey lowering a pizza by drone to its designated spot - where a group of New Zealand dignitaries waited to test the pizza for its temperature and taste and ease of delivery.
The pizza was lowered by tether onto a small picnic blanket spread out at a test site in Auckland with transport minister Simon Bridges and other dignitaries ready to sample the delivery giving it a thumbs up. The delivery is just the beginning as flights are due to expand to customer homes in the country later this year.
"New Zealand is taking the lead on home delivery as it has some of the most forward-thinking aviation regulations in the world. However, new U.S. drone regulations that took effect in late August means that the fast food delivery company, Flirtey, is also positioned to bring the same revolutionary drone delivery service to partners within the United States,” the company’s CEO, Matt Sweeny, said in a news release.
Both Flirtey and Domino’s are pushing the frontier of fast-food delivery: Earlier this year, Flirtey and 7-Eleven showed off a drone delivery system that brought a chicken sandwich, doughnuts, hot coffee and cold Slurpee drinks to a test customer in Reno, Nev. That flight was part of a research project for the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems.
Domino’s, meanwhile, has been experimenting with robotic pizza delivery in Australia.
The Flirtey delivery drone is built from carbon fiber, aluminum and 3-D-printed components. The delivery box is designed to hold a Domino’s pizza box inside at the proper temperature, protected from the elements.
Drone delivery is expected to become a big deal in the years to come as aviation agencies adjust the regulatory environment to accommodate flying robots. Amazon is a leader in the field, and is in the process of testing prototype aircraft on U.S. private property as well as in Canada, Britain and the Netherlands.
But Reno-based Flirtey made the first urban drone delivery as well as the first ship-to-shore drone delivery, following up on last year’s first-ever FAA-sanctioned drone delivery.
Other drone companies are moving ahead as well with San Francisco-based Zipline getting set to launch a drone delivery operation for medical supplies in Rwanda in October. Within the next six months or so, it’s expected to start up a similar experimental programs for Washington’s San Juan Islands and other remote communities in the United States, said the report.