Meet DRU, Domino's delivery robot of the future

DOMINO'S has unveiled plans for its newest team member - the autonomous delivery vehicle DRU (Domino's Robotic Unit), who could deliver our pizzas of the future.

DRU is a four wheeled vehicle with compartments built to keep the order hot and drinks cold as he travels the footpath from the store to the customer's door.

That's right, "he". Domino's is referring to the robot as a male. 

With trials in Brisbane beginning today, DRU is already able to navigate from a starting point to his destination, selecting the best path of travel. 

His on-board sensors enable him to perceive obstacles along the way and avoid them if necessary.

He was designed with a friendly persona to aid interaction with customers, and could be a distant cousin of Disney's beloved robot WALL-E.

Domino's Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij said DRU is "cheeky and endearing".

Mr Meij said that autonomous vehicles were set to open up new opportunities for Domino's globally and in Australia.

"It allows Domino's to explore new concepts and push the boundaries of what is possible for our customers, he said.

"The DRU prototype is only the first step in our research and development as we continue to develop a range of innovations set to revolutionise the entire pizza ordering experience."

Domino's World First Autonomous Delivery Vehicle

Meet DRU - The newest team member to join the Domino's family! He's the world's first autonomous pizza delivery vehicle!DRU has a passion for delivering piping hot meals and a nice warm smile to customers. While he won't be taking to the streets tomorrow, he is enjoying his early progress as a prototype and giving customers a glimpse into the future of what is possible. We're excited to welcome DRU into the team and we're sure you'll love getting to know him and his cheeky personality!#DRU #DominosAU #MoreThanJustPizza #TheFuture #GameChanger

Posted by Domino's Australia on Thursday, 17 March 2016

The idea for DRU came from within their internal innovation sessions and has been developed within Domino's own DLAB, a purpose built lab aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs commercialise their ideas.

Autonomous drones and cars still need to pass a number of regulatory hurdles and challenges before they're delivering pizza on Australian streets, but DRU has already been street-tested in semi-autonomous mode. 

Mr Meij said the new trials are a big step forward in commercialising fully autonomous delivery vehicles.

"With autonomous vehicles opening up possibilities for saving lives, saving time and moving goods more efficiently, we look forward to continuing our work in this field and leading the commercial trials so that our customers can reap the benefits," he said.

Opportunistic thieves will be wary of stealing pizzas from a robot with 120kgs of camera and GPS technology, Mr Meij told the Courier Mail.