Ever imagine a future where you could order up a cheesy pizza and it would be delivered to your doorstep by drone?
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The future is here for some lucky people in New Zealand. Pizza chain Domino's teamed up with up with drone delivery service Flirtey to peddle its pies via the sky. The companies this week launched what they're calling the "world's first pizza-by-drone" commercial trials. And while they're just testing this concept in New Zealand at the moment, the companies plan to expand the operation to other areas of the globe "in the near future."
In this week's tests, Flirtey was able to successfully deliver hot, fresh pizzas in an urban environment, validating that the system works and that it's "prepared for mass market deliveries around the globe," said the company's CEO, Matthew Sweeny.
"We are moving closer and closer to widespread store-to-door drone delivery," he added.
A lot of customers are on board with this idea. Seventy percent of Domino's customers recently polled said they would be willing to have their pizza delivered via drone.
"We invested in this partnership, and technology, because we believe drone delivery will be an essential component of our pizza deliveries, so even more customers can receive the freshest, hottest pizza we can offer," Domino's Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij said in a statement. "Drones offer the promise of safer, faster deliveries to an expanded delivery area, meaning more customers can expect to receive a freshly made order within our ultimate target of 10 minutes. This is the future."
Flirtey's autonomous, electric drones are made from carbon fiber, aluminium, and 3D-printed components. They lower cargo via tether, and are programmed to return to a safe location if the battery is running low, and automatically return home if they lose communication or encounter a low GPS signal.
In 2013, Domino's teased drone delivery in the UK via a video featuring the "DomiCopter," though it was largely viewed as a marketing stunt at the time rather than an actual service.
Drone technology has changed a lot in three years, though. In the US, Chipotle recently teamed up with Google's parent company, Alphabet, to deliver burritos by drone at Virginia Tech, which is one of the FAA's six approved drone test sites.