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Domino's (DPZ) Robot Delivery Expands to Europe

Joseph Lu

Domino’s Pizza Inc. DPZ is expanding its robot delivery service to Europe. The recognized world leader in pizza delivery is teaming up with the London-based startup, Starship Technologies, to deliver pizza in Germany and the Netherlands with robots.

This isn’t the first time that a robot has delivered Domino’s pizzas. The company has formed a group called Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU) to oversee this operation.  The first successful robot pizza delivery was done last March in New Zealand. It also made a delivery by drone in November.

Starship, founded by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, created six-wheeled, self-driving delivery robots that will be able to deliver pizza within a one-mile radius of certain Domino’s pizza shops in selected German cities and locations throughout the Netherlands.

The robot has a maximum speed of four miles per hour and able to carry up to 20 pounds. Known as DRU, it is designed to travel on the sidewalk and capable of detecting and avoiding obstacles, such as cars, trash cans, and curious bystanders. 

The public wonders if the robots will eventually take the job of the delivery drivers. The company said the robot is only a “complement to its deliveries in cars and bicycles,” and it will create more jobs for humans too, including maintaining the robots and loading pizzas into DRU.

“With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this,” said Domino’s CEO Don Meij.

While the robot will only unlock with a code that customers receive through text, it’s hard not to wonder if a hungry bystander will just follow the robot till its destination before striking or just hijacking the robot. What will Domino’s and Starship do to prevent that from happening?

Companies like Amazon.com AMZN, Wal-Mart WMT, Chipotle CMG and Alphabet GOOGL have all been testing out their version of drone delivery, but a lot of work in safety and policy still needs to be done.

Domino’s is trading at $183.93 per share, down 0.55% on Wednesday.

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