Aug 26, 2016 | By Alec
It has been almost inevitable ever since drones became commercially viable, and it has certainly been inevitable since Australian drone delivery pioneers Flirtey successfully delivered medical supplies with a 3D printed drone. But now they have gone one step further, and successfully delivered a Domino’s pizza using their 3D printed delivery drone. This delivery took place in Auckland, New Zealand, and was completed as part of the announcement of the world’s first commercial pizza-by-drone delivery partnership between Flirtey and Domino's.
This is also a huge achievement for Flirtey, who have been perfecting drone delivery with their 3D printed drone from their Reno, Nevada, HQ for some time now. And over 2016, they have been following up on one success with another, from the first ever urban FAA delivery test a few months ago (with a package containing bottled water, food and a first aid kit) to the first-ever US ship-to-shore delivery of medical supplies with an eye on humanitarian aid applications.
But this latest achievement (and the accompanying commercial deal) certainly takes the cake, or pizza. A hot Domino's pizza (toppings unspecified) was delivered during the demonstration, fully conducted under the Civil Aviation Rules Part 101 – marking the final step in the approval process for drone deliveries in New Zealand. Experiments with commercial flights to customer homes could follow in a few months from select Domino’s stores. Aside from proving the viability of drone technology, the experiment also delivered a pizza (in custom packaging) that retained temperature and taste. Within just a minute of delivery, the attending Transport Minister Simon Bridges was sampling the wares himself.
This is good news for Domino’s, who has been repeatedly looking into new delivery technology (including land-based robots). But with this new deal with Flirtey, the air is clearly going to be the pizza’s domain. And with more than 2,000 Domino’s stores spread out throughout the world, we could be seeing a lot of pizza’s flying around soon.
As Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney revealed, the choice for New Zealand was a logical one due to existing legislation on drones. But the US could follow soon. “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,” he said. “Soon you will be able to order a Flirtey to deliver your pizza on-demand.”
Domino’s, meanwhile, is excepting a delivery revolution. “Partnering with Flirtey to revolutionize the delivery experience is an achievement that will set our company apart in the minds of customers and change the way delivery is conducted around the world,” said Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij. “Domino's customers can expect the freshest and fastest pizza delivery service at the same quality they have come to expect from us thanks to Flirtey's industry-leading technology.”
The Flirtey delivery drone consists of numerous fiber, aluminum and 3D printed components, and can travel about 10 miles on a single battery. It is also lightweight, autonomous, and lowers its cargo to your porch with a tether. Thanks to auto-return systems that spring into action in the case of low batteries, low GPS signals and communication loss, it is one of the safest commercially viable autonomous drones out there. If all things go well, it should be delivering pizzas within 30 minutes or less.
So when can drone deliveries become a real thing? While multiple commercial tests can be experimented in the near future, the real challenge is in accommodating flying robots in the regulatory environment of aviation agencies. That is an ongoing process that will likely yield results over the next few years. And once that happens, Flirtey will be ready. They have already signed another partnership with 7-Eleven for over-the-counter medication delivery, while they are working hard to hire and train drone operators and engineers. And with Amazon and other companies looking into drone delivery as well, empty skies might become a thing of the past.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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Bill wrote at 11/7/2016 4:22:50 AM:
Pie in the Sky just took on a whole new meaning