Domino’s Pizza Enterprises tried a drone delivery in New Zealand last week, initially to demonstrate its ability to perform deliveries with this technology, but the company pretends to implement actual deliveries with drones shortly.

The demonstration was conducted in Auckland, a location known for massive traffic congestion, what motivated the company to enter the drone delivery industry, particularly in this area. The goal is to create drone delivery a reality and eventually expand it.

Drones to deliver Domino's pizza in New Zealand. Image Credit: Forbes
Drones to deliver Domino’s Pizza in New Zealand. Image Credit: Forbes

“We’ve always said that it doesn’t make sense to have a 2-tonne machine delivering a 2-kilogram order. The use of drones 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,” said Don Meiji, CEO for Domino’s Pizza Enterprises.

About DPE

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises (DPE), independent od the chain in the U.S., is the largest franchisee for Domino’s Pizza operating mainly in Australia, where the company dominates the market but also working in France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Monaco.

DPE is the largest pizza chain in New Zealand since it holds the most significant number of stores in the territory. It’s locally owned and operated but its partnering with a drone delivery company to implement this new method of delivery.

The legal issue

Domino’s Pizza in America have not tried drone deliveries since so far; this mechanism is illegal in the U.S. territory.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated in 2014 that delivering packages using drone technology is not legal, and all businesses who try to implement the service are an outlaw.

This regulation included Amazon, the first company who worked on a drone-delivery project and any other business who attempts to use the commercial use of drones. Image Credit: CNET
This regulation included Amazon, the first company who worked on a drone-delivery project and any other business who attempts to use the commercial use of drones. Image Credit: CNET

The report issued by the FAA called Notice of Interpretation with Request for Comment included all activities that are not allowed with drones’ use and delivering packages to people is among them, when charged or when the shipping is free.

 The FAA has consistently tried to remind the industry that there are regulations on the use of Airspace with flying objects, and so far drones for commercial purpose are not permitted. Flying drones for personal use, nonetheless, is authorized.

The legal status of drones in New Zealand, however, is not that clear, since drones are not regulated in current legislation so companies can use the aircraft for commercial purposes. New Zealand has quite modern aviation regulations so drone deliveries may seem possible for the near future.

Flirtey came to help with the technology and with the legal battle

Flirtey, a drone delivery company who is in the top of the industry, helps businesses to transform their sales and shipments by creating a drone delivery system to unlock new markets and explore new technologies. Flirtey has been the only company to conduct the first FAA-approved drone deliveries in America, partnering with NASA Langley pilots, delivering medical supplies.

The drone company is working on discussing with New Zealand’s authorities to provide a viable legal status to the drone delivery and Domino’s probably will be the first company to implement this system legally in the territory.

With the drone business skyrocketing, it wouldn't come as a surprise if other fast food chains start introducing drone delivery services. Image Credit: AFR
With the drone business skyrocketing, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if other fast food chains start introducing drone delivery services. Image Credit: AFR

Drone deliveries under the scope

Dan Wang, a technology expert, published an article called The Economics of Drone Delivery where drone deliveries are examined considering its effect on improving the deliveries’ industry.

For the author, the economic perspective puts drones in a vulnerable position, since its modernity can represent a problem. Drones pose a difficulty considering the two primary factors for last mile delivery: Route density and drop size, which translates into the number of drops offs that can be made in a single delivery route and the number of parcels per stop.

This way, the cost of the delivery directly depends on these factors since making lots of deliveries in a short period or distance or dropping several parcels at the same location, costs will be low. Drones are problematic exactly in that sense, since the artifact carry just one package, so multiple deliveries in one trip so far are not possible so far. Also, the drone must come back to the base to recharge batteries.

Drone delivery, however, has considerable benefits. For Domino’s, this could mean reaching rural areas and achieving a more efficient time in deliveries. But the results of drone deliveries won’t be measurable until the system is implemented.

Domino’s and its delivery systems

Last year, the brand of Domino’s Pizza in America unveiled the DXP, a vehicle devoted to pizza deliveries. The car that used a Chevy as the primary structure has several features to improve the delivery mechanism, such as a warming oven. The company has tried to implement new ordering and delivering systems such as an app compatible with Apple Watch, a voice-recognition avatar, and even an emojis-texting feature, where consumers order pizza by sending a pizza emoji.

Indeed, the brand aims to transform the entire pizza industry and insert it in the doom.

Source: Fortune