First ever drone pizza delivery takes place in New Zealand
Thu 17 Nov 2016
Perhaps it’s one giant step for dronekind, or perhaps it’s a depressingly banal statement on what we now consider ‘technological progress’ after the glory decades of the space race; but for some reason drone-delivered pizza has entered cultural consciousness as a kind of milestone for UAVs in modern culture.
On Wednesday this milestone was passed in the town of Whangaparaoa in New Zealand.
Domino’s Pizza, in conjunction with drone manufacturer Flirtey, made the delivery using the Dru drone to customers in the suburban town 15 miles north of Auckland. Scott Bush, Domino’s general manager for New Zealand, inaugurated the delivery of a Piri piri chicken pizza and a cranberry chicken pizza, also referencing Neil Armstrong’s famous declaration in 1969.
The food is prepared in-store and packed into a marsupial-style enclosure in the Dru drone’s undercarriage, before a local journey at 200ft altitude concludes with the slow dropping of the delivery on a wire to the customer, who apparently must lay out a ‘target’ cloth in the yard with markings that the drone can authenticate as the correct delivery location. So it looks like users in cut-up tenements are either going to need the pizza delivery robot that Domino’s is currently trialling, or they’re going to have to fight the local dogs for their food.
The Whangaparaoa delivery is not the world’s first comestible launch by drone; that took place on July 11th – a mere nine days before the anniversary of the lunar landing – in the United States, at Reno, Nevada, when 7-11 delivered doughnuts, coffee, candy, a chicken sandwich and some Slurpees to a private home.
Prior to that Flirtey made the first FAA-approved commercial delivery in Wise County, Virginia, when Dru despatched a consignment of medicine from an airfield to a medical clinic.
In a way Flirtey is behind the latest research, which posits a drone you can actually eat.