The trial of the first Civil Aviation Authority-authorised commercial drone delivery service in the world in Auckland on Thursday was watched by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority and the Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges, and marked a final step of Flirtey’s approval process to operate the drones in compliance with the CAA’s civil aviation rules.
Domino’s and Flirtey say their aim is to connect people with pizza via CAA-approved trial store-to-door drone deliveries from a selected Domino’s New Zealand store. Flights to customer homes are set to commence later this year following the beginning of daylight saving in New Zealand.
Domino’s is also looking at opportunities for drone delivery trials in its six other markets – Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.
“With the increased number of deliveries we make each year, we were faced with the challenge of ensuring our delivery times continue to decrease and that we strive to offer our customers new and progressive ways of ordering from us.
“Research into different delivery methods led us to Flirtey. Their success within the airborne delivery space has been impressive and it’s something we have wanted to offer our customers,” Meij said.
Meij says the use of drones as a delivery method is designed to work alongside Domino’s current delivery fleet and will be fully integrated into online ordering and GPS systems.
“Domino’s is all about providing customers with choice and making customers' lives easier. Adding innovation such as drone deliveries means customers can experience cutting-edge technology and the convenience of having their Supreme pizza delivered via air to their door. This is the future.”
The Domino’s chief says the company has invested heavily to provide its stores with different delivery fleet options such as electric scooters, e-bikes and “even the Domino’s Robotic Unit – DRU that we launched earlier this year”.
“We’ve always said that it doesn’t make sense to have a two-tonne machine delivering a two-kilogram order,” Meij says.
“DRU DRONE is the next stage of the company’s expansion into the artificial intelligence space and gives us the ability to learn and adopt new technologies in the business.”
According to Meij, the reach that a drone offers is far greater than other current options which are restricted by traffic, roads and sheer distance, and he says Domino’s will look to the results of the trial to determine where drones are implemented further.
“What drones allow us to do is to extend that delivery area by removing barriers such as traffic and access, as well as offering a much faster, safer delivery option, which means we can deliver further afield than we currently do to our rural customers while reaching our urban customers in a much more efficient time.”
Flirtey chief executive Matt Sweeny said launching the “first commercial drone delivery service in the world” is a landmark achievement for Flirtey and Domino’s, “heralding a new frontier of on-demand delivery for customers across New Zealand and around the globe”.
“New Zealand has the most forward-thinking aviation regulations in the world, and with our new partnership with the leader in pizza delivery worldwide, Domino’s, we are uniquely positioned to bring the same revolutionary drone delivery service to customers globally.
“We are getting closer to the time where you can push a button on your smartphone and have Domino's delivered by drone to your home,” Sweeny said.