Fleets come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging from enormous cargo trucks to tiny delivery mopeds, the diversity in the responsibilities and required expertise of fleet managers is extraordinary. But Domino's has decided to take this wide world of vehicles and go one step further with the introduction of the Domino's Robotic Unit – or DRU, for short.
The future of delivery?
DRU is a small, autonomous vehicle about the size of a large dog, designed to trundle along pavements and deliver pizzas much like a human driver would. Fully equipped with hot and cold storage compartments as well as a "cheeky and endearing" personality (according to Domino's), DRU is described as a "big step forward" for the pizza delivery service. Truly, innovation can come from anywhere these days.
The New Zealand government is working with Domino's to make our country one of the first to test out the full capabilities of DRU, though some have raised some legitimate concerns about just how far a wheeled vehicle could go. How will it let people know it has arrived? Can its small electric engine generate enough torque to haul it up some of the more hilly parts of Aotearoa? Could this ever replace the actual human interaction part of pizza delivery?
Following in the flight path
Domino's is also hardly the first to take on autonomous delivery. In the United States, Amazon has been investigating its options in drone delivery through the Amazon Prime Air service. Intended to have any order under 2.2kg delivered within 30 minutes, this kind of vehicle technology could herald a change in the way we receive our purchased goods.
Neither of these services are currently available, however, so for the time being Kiwis will have to rely on good, old-fashioned humans to get their grub to them. Let's hope Domino's fleet managers have a fuel card to help reduce their delivery costs – it might be hard to compete with the robots otherwise!