18 Mar 2016

The govt, the pizza company and the robot

1:16 pm on 18 March 2016

Politicians are frequently accused of being cheesy, but this takes the cake... or rather the pizza: the government is working with take-out chain Domino's to bring the testing of a pizza delivery robot to New Zealand.

no caption

The robot could be tested in New Zealand. Photo: Supplied

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world being considered for testing the autonomous pizza delivery unit named DRU (Domino's Robotic Unit).

"DRU is an early prototype, but the fact that New Zealand is being considered as a test site shows we have the right settings to attract innovation," Mr Bridges says.

"If successful, this driverless vehicle trial could open the door to many more commercial opportunities.

He said officials from the Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency will continue to work with Domino's over the possibility of trialling DRU in New Zealand

Domino's said the DRU was a four wheeled vehicle with compartments built to keep the customer's order hot while travelling on the footpath from the store to the customer's door.

The company said the robot was able to navigate from a starting point to its destination, and on-board sensors enabled it to perceive obstacles along the way.

Domino's confirmed that DRU was tested in a semi-autonomous mode in Australia, and the company said New Zealand was in line for the move to fully-autonomous trials.

Neither Domino's or the government have said whether the robot's development cost a lot of dough.