November 16, 2016      

Nearly three months after announcing a partnership to build pizza delivery drones, Domino’s and Flirtey successfully delivered pizzas to customers in New Zealand on Wednesday. This was the country’s first commercial delivery of pizza by drone.

The DRU Drone autonomously flew the Peri-Peri Chicken and Chicken and Cranberry pizzas to the backyard of Emma and Johnny Norman, who live about 20 miles north of Auckland in Whangaparaoa. According to Domino’s, the flight lasted less than five minutes, and the pizzas arrived at 11:19 AM.

Currently available to select customers, Domino’s and Flirtey plan to expand pizza-by-drone deliveries in the near future.

“We will be conducting more delivery flights to customers from the Whangaparaoa store this week, and will use the information we gather to expand drone flights to a larger DRU Drone by Flirtey delivery area next year,” says Domino’s Group CEO and managing director Don Meij. “We expect DRU Drone by Flirtey to be an essential addition to our delivery fleet.”

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Flirtey received a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operators Certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) before the delivery was conducted.

Meij claims pizza delivery drones will actually create jobs, not steal them. “As we expand, we will look to hire additional team members whose roles will be focused on drone order loading and fleet management.”

Emma and Johnny Norman enjoying their drone-delivered pizza.

“We are moving closer and closer to widespread store-to-door drone delivery,” says Matthew Sweeny, CEO of Flirtey. “To conduct these deliveries in an urban environment while delivering a hot, fresh pizza, is a validation of our delivery system that assures Flirtey is prepared for mass market deliveries around the globe.”

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According to the announcement, a recent poll found 70 percent of Domino’s customers would use DRU Drone for their deliveries.

Domino’s has also been developing the DRU pizza delivery robot that has four wheels, is less than three feet tall, and has a heated compartment that can hold up to 10 pizzas. It can deliver pizzas within a 12.5-mile radius before needing to be recharged. No immediate word on how drone delivery would affect the DRU pizza delivery robot.