The food delivery robots are coming.
Starship Technologies has partnered with Domino’s pizzas to deliver meals by robot in Europe later this year.
The six-wheeled Starship Robots will start delivering pizzas within a 1.7km radius of Domino's stores in a selection of cities in Germany and the Netherlands.
Last year, Domino’s tested a four-wheeled sidewalk autonomous vehicle which completed a successful pizza delivery in Australia. And in November it delivered a pizza – peri-peri chicken – by drone in New Zealand. The pizza arrived hot after a short journey, flying for less than five minutes.
“Robotic delivery units will complement our existing delivery methods, including cars, scooters and e-bikes,” Domino’s Pizza Enterprises CEO Don Meij said in a statement.
“With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this,” Mr Meij said.
Customers who want their pizza brought by a robot will have to opt-in – otherwise regular delivery methods will be used.
Important next step
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd, the world’s largest franchise licence owner of Domino’s Pizza with operations in markets across Asia and Europe, has formed a group called Domino’s Robotic Unit to oversee the project. The new unit is dedicated to the use of robot and drone technologies for delivery.
Mr Meij views the partnership with Starship Technologies as "an important next step in bringing robot pizza deliveries to reality."
Launched by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis in 2014, Starship Technologies has created delivery robots that are about 0.7m high, travel around 6 km/h (walking speed) and can carry loads of up to 19kg.
The companies expect robot deliveries to start in the next two months.
If the trial market is successful, Domino’s is likely to expand the service across the company's 2,000+ stores worldwide.