ZB

Domino's to fly pizza right to your doorstep

Author
Rahul Bhattarai, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Jan 2022, 10:24am
SkyDrop is the last-mile drone delivery business owned by holding company Flirtey.
SkyDrop is the last-mile drone delivery business owned by holding company Flirtey.

Domino's to fly pizza right to your doorstep

Author
Rahul Bhattarai, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Jan 2022, 10:24am

Domino's pizza has secured a deal with the US drone manufacturer Flirtey (SkyDrop) to start the second phase of an aerial pizza delivery trial in New Zealand. 

Stage one of the trial began in 2016, and for the first time, the two companies partnered to deliver pizza by drone from Domino's store in Whangaparaoa. 

SkyDrop founder and chief executive Matthew Sweeny said the company was excited to launch the second stage of the commercial drone delivery partnership with Domino's later this year. 

The exact date and location of the launch were unclear. 

SkyDrop is the last-mile drone delivery business owned by holding company Flirtey. It designs and builds drone delivery aircraft including its own operating software and launch platforms for store-to-door package delivery for commercial customers throughout the world. 

Aviation watchdog Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: "Yes we can confirm that Flirtey has a 102 operating certificate in New Zealand that allows for the delivery and pick-up of packages within specified conditions." 

Granting of a 102 operating certificate is assessed on the risk of the drone flight. 

Safety 

He said the company had hired the head of NASA's drone programme to build a safe flying transport. 

The drone had been tested in a windy US city, Reno, Nevada and was equipped to fly through the strong gusts of Wellington's wind. 

Since the initial trial, Sweeny said SkyDrop had developed more efficient drones which were capable of carrying loads of up to 3.5kg. 

It had the precision delivery altitude of the drone up to 60 metres and added a parachute system for safety.No aviation licence was needed to fly the drone, and the training process was less than a month, Sweeny said. 

Initially, about two people were required to control the unmanned drone via remote control, however as the technology developed, he said one person could control multiple drones at the same time. 

Privacy concerns 

Every one of these drones had a camera but it was only turned on after it arrived at the dropoff location, to avoid collecting data that wasn't required. 

"There is a camera on our drone but we won't turn it on while the drone's on the flight," he said. 

Sweeny told the Herald, at the moment the drone wasn't able to make deliveries to city apartments but that was something he was planning for the future. 

"New Zealand has a real opportunity to be at the forefront of the drone delivery 
industry globally. 

"We look forward to expanding our leadership in the trillion-dollar store-to-door food delivery market," Sweeny said. 

Domino's group chief executive and managing director Don Meij said: "We believe drone delivery will be an essential component of our pizza deliveries in the future. 

"Customers benefit from the convenience of having fresh, hot pizzas delivered with zero contact to their homes by electrically-powered drones, which also reduces traffic congestion and greenhouse emissions," Meij said. 

Domino's New Zealand general manager Cameron Toomey said they were currently reviewing locations across the country for the drone delivery trial to commence later this year. 

"We can't wait to give our customers the unique experience of having their favourite Domino's pizzas delivered by drone," he said.