Domino’s Pizza Enterprises and Flirtey teamed up today to demonstrate a drone delivery system that could theoretically bring you a pizza in 30 minutes or less – from the air.
The first delivery was lowered by tether onto a picnic blanket spread out beneath drippy skies at a test site in Auckland, New Zealand. Within a minute, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and other dignitaries were sampling the wares and nodding in approval.
Flights are due to expand to customer homes in New Zealand later this year.
Why New Zealand?
“New Zealand has the most forward-thinking aviation regulations in the world, and with the new U.S. drone regulations taking effect on Aug. 29, Flirtey is uniquely positioned to bring the same revolutionary Flirtey drone delivery service to partners within the United States,” the company’s CEO, Matt Sweeny, said in a news release.
Both Flirtey and Domino’s are pushing the frontier of fast-food delivery: Earlier this year, Flirtey and 7-Eleven showed off a drone delivery system that brought a chicken sandwich, doughnuts, hot coffee and cold Slurpee drinks to a test customer in Reno, Nev. That flight was part of a research project for the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems.
Domino’s, meanwhile, has been experimenting with robotic pizza delivery in Australia.
Drone delivery is expected to become a big deal in the years to come as aviation agencies adjust the regulatory environment to accommodate flying robots. Amazon is a leader in the field, and is in the process of testing prototype aircraft on U.S. private property as well as in Canada, Britain and the Netherlands.
But Reno-based Flirtey is aiming to make its mark: This year it made the first urban drone delivery as well as the first ship-to-shore drone delivery, following up on last year’s first-ever FAA-sanctioned drone delivery.
Other drone companies are moving ahead as well: San Francisco-based Zipline is getting set to launch a drone delivery operation for medical supplies in Rwanda in October. Within the next six months or so, it’s expected to start up a similar experimental programs for Washington’s San Juan Islands and other remote communities in the United States.