UPDATE: Dodo's Pizza in Russia has proof of commercial pizza deliveries by drone from June 2014, invalidating Domino's claim of a drone delivery world-first - all the detail is here!
UPDATE 2: Domino's Pizza has responded to Dodo Pizza, insisting it has indeed achieved a world-first - read all the details here!
UPDATE 3 - 18 November 2016 - Dodo Pizza has responded back to Domino's counterclaim - details here!
Original story continues below:
Domino’s and its drone delivery partner Flirtey delivered the first order, a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza, and a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza, at 11:19am (GMT+13) to a customer in Whangaparaoa, 25km north of Auckland.
The unmanned aerial vehicle, DRU Drone by Flirtey, was autonomously controlled using GPS navigation, overseen by a team of drone experts and a qualified and experienced drone pilot.
Domino’s chief executive and managing director, Don Meij, noted the successful DRU Drone by Flirtey delivery came just three months after both companies announced their partnership, but followed ‘a number of operational and product trials, including food temperature testing, and liaison with government.’
Meij said: “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.
“Our partnership with Flirtey grew out of this drive to innovate. Their success within the airborne delivery space has been impressive and we’re proud to have partnered with them on this world first.
“DRU Drone by Flirtey offers 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.
“They can avoid traffic congestion and traffic lights, and safely reduce the delivery time and distance by travelling directly to customers’ homes. This is the future.
“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.
“Our customers are excited about the possibility of drone deliveries and we are thrilled to be working with local families as we test and expand this technology.
“We will be conducting more delivery flights to customers from the Whangaparaoa store this week, and will use the information we gather to expand drone flights to a larger DRU Drone by Flirtey delivery area next year.
“We expect DRU Drone by Flirtey to be an essential addition to our delivery fleet.
“This will actually create jobs. As we expand, we will look to hire additional team members whose roles will be focused on drone order loading and fleet management.
“I am proud of this partnership that has not only delivered this momentous event, but is leading the world for this important technology," concluded Meij.
Flirtey received a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Flirtey chief executive Matt Sweeny said: “This is the first time a drone delivery service has been approved for store-to-door deliveries, cementing Flirtey’s position as the leader of the drone delivery industry worldwide.
“The eyes of Silicon Valley and the world are on New Zealand, which has the most forward- thinking aviation regulations, and Flirtey and Domino’s are excited to be bringing world-leading technology, international investment, and high paying jobs to New Zealand.
“We have been conducting daily testing, including final adjustments to our proprietary hardware and software, to perfect the service so that we could deliver the highest quality experience to customers in the safest possible manner.
“Flirtey will work with Domino’s to expand on today’s success, and plan to extend the dimensions, weight and distance of the deliveries in the future based on results and customer feedback.
“We are taking a ‘Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly’ approach to roll out drone delivery, and we are getting closer to the time where you can push a button on your smartphone and have Domino's delivered by DRU Drone by Flirtey to your home.
“It is so exciting to work with Domino’s and achieve this world first together. The insights that Domino’s can bring by being a world-class delivery company helps Flirtey to offer a world- class drone delivery service,” Sweeny concluded.
Domino’s says it "does not anticipate any shortage of customers when they start with trials to customers".
The company says its "recent GPS Driver Tracker Polls revealed that 70% of customers would use DRU Drone by Flirtey for their deliveries if given the opportunity. The use of DRU Drone by Flirtey as a delivery method is designed to work alongside Domino’s current delivery fleet and ultimately will be fully integrated into online ordering and GPS systems".
So what about that video – and when will the service go live in Australia, and some of the other countries that Domino’s operates in?
You can watch the video of the first drone delivery at this direct Facebook link.
As for droning on about international drone delivery expansion, Domino’s says it is "looking at opportunities for drone delivery trials in its six other markets – Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany".