FYI: Pizza Delivery Drones are Taking Off in New Zealand
When it comes to having a fresh, hot pizza delivered directly into your hands, the days of using a rotary phone to dial up your local pizza parlor seem like something out of The Flintstones. From online ordering to pepperoni-toting robots, pizza makers have turned into early tech adopters as a way to stay ahead of the curve and in the news — and Domino’s may very well be leading that charge.
Earlier this week, the pizza giant announced their latest pie delivery innovation: a partnership with drone service Flirtey that could very well mean you’ve seen the last of flesh-and-bone pizza couriers… or not.
The freshly united companies made a big show of their collaboration on Thursday with a demonstration of their new pizza drone delivery service in Auckland, New Zealand — an event that was apparently deemed monumental enough that the Civil Aviation Authority and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges showed up. While, by all accounts, the event was a success — with the companies anticipating they will begin testing the service with real, live Kiwi customers later this year — you should probably hold off on planning that month-long, all-pizza staycation in bed just yet.
While, in theory, the idea of having a miniature airplane drop off your Meatzza and stuffed cheesy bread sounds like the obvious next step in a world where books and Slurpees are taking to the skies, the reality is not so simple. While companies like Domino’s and Amazon race to bring the technology to the public, FAA regulations stateside could mean that the only way Americans could have a drone dropping off their dinner is if they happen to live right next door to the restaurant.
Philip Solaris, director of the drone service X-Craft Enterprises, is one skeptic. Citing a rule stipulating that drones must be within sight of the user at all times, he admitted to Reuters that he “can't truly see how commercially viable that idea is because you would have to literally have somebody walking along to keep it in the line of sight, watching it at all times.” Another issue, according to Solaris, is that the drone would have to find a way to avoid “random hazards (like) power lines, moving vehicles [and] children in the backyard playing.”
Still, the big cheese at Domino’s seems undeterred. “Both Domino’s and Flirtey are learning what is possible with the drone delivery for our products, but this isn’t a pie in the sky idea,” Don Meij, Domino’s CEO and managing director, told Fortune. (See what he did there?) “It’s about working with the regulators and Flirtey to make this a reality for our customers.”
If it means they’ll bring back that 30 minutes or less promise, we're on board.