Flying pizza – a world first for NZ

Emma and Johnny Norman say their drone-delivered pizzas arrived faster and were fresher
Emma and Johnny Norman say their drone-delivered pizzas arrived faster and were fresher
Domino's claims world first, using drone to deliver pizza to Kiwi customers

Domino’s – the pizza chain – is claiming a world first today, announcing that it safely carried out the world’s first commercial delivery of food by drone to customers in New Zealand.

The Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza and Chicken and Cranberry Pizza were delivered by drone, with NZ Civil Aviation approval, to a customer in Whangaparoa, 25km north of Auckland.

This delivery comes just three months after Domino’s and the drone company Flirtey announced their partnership and intention to roll out drone delivery. It’s the first of many deliveries to be completed this week.

With just two to three minutes of flying time, the flying pizzas arrived in the backyard of Emma and Johnny Norman’s home by the unmanned aerial vehicle.

Domino’s general manager, Scott Bush says this was the second phase of the project in delivering pizza to customers.

“We hope to have all orders being delivered to everyone permanently within the next couple of years,” he says.

“Part of our internal process is our project 3-10 which is where the customer can pick up an order within three minutes, and a pizza is delivered within 10 minutes still fresh and hot. With our partnership with Flirtey it is going to cut down times even further where we can anticipate drone deliveries within seven to eight minutes in the future. ”

The drone was autonomously controlled using GPS navigation, overseen by a team of exports and a qualified drone pilot.

With today’s order the drive to deliver would have been around three to five minutes but the drone delivered within two to three minutes which was significantly faster.

“We have figured out that on busy days it can take our drivers sometimes two and a half minutes to get out of the carpark, so this will be a game changer,” Scott says.

The Normans, who are regulars at Domino’s Pizza, were very excited to be the first to get a delivery from a drone.

“The delivery was a lot quicker and it was most certainly more fresh and hot. We are really excited to see how this proceeds,” they say.

Both Domino’s Pizza and Flirtey believe that by using drone delivery it will be a safer, faster option which will open up many job opportunities.

The businesses also believe that this will make it easier for people to avoid traffic congestion with the forever growing areas.

Flirtey’s director Samantha Sharif says in the near future and with upgrading their technologies their drones will be able to travel further and carry a lot more pizza.

“We have been able to carry a regular customer’s order quite comfortably but over time as we start increasing our technology we will be able to increase our payload. At the moment we are kind of limited to around 5kg,” she says.

Flirtey is looking to roll out drone deliveries in other sectors such as humanitarian resources.

“Drone delivery is the way of the future and is much safer on the environment. We have been working with other organisations to help find ways to benefit society.”

Flirtey say they have made sure that they have gained all the authorities that were needed along the way.

“We recently received our Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority which allows us quite a broad scope in terms of our operation.”

At the moment the height restrictions in terms of commercial aviation is to stay below 400 feet but they usually fly 100 feet at the cruse level which is about 12 meters a second.

“Often people are concerned about privacy issues but what we would like to point out is that Flirtey is not surveying or filming, that is not what we do. We are doing delivery by drone, they are programmed by GPS, we do have a camera on it but that is purely for navigational purposes,” Sharif says.


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