Robots have always captured human imagination and for long time hard work has been put into efforts for making them more useful for humans. In the years gone by there have been huge advancements in the field of robotics but still they are not mainstream. All that is changing slowly an example of that is Domino’s Robotic Unit or DRU. Domino’s have worked with Australian company Marathon Robotics to create a pizza delivery robot.
This DRU is the first commercial autonomous delivery vehicle of the world and was showcased back in March this year. The robot is a proto but that did not stopped the company from showcasing it’s capabilities. The DRU is capable of manure it’s way around footpaths, trails, bike paths and bridges. It can reach a top speed of 20 kilometres an hour but it is not suitable as of now for working on highways or roads.
DRU has obstacle detecting LIDAR sensor system which allows the robot to detect hindrances in it’s path and avoid them altogether. In case you are not aware LIDAR (light detection and ranging) is the same technology used in driverless cars to identify surrounding environment.
It has got GPS tracking which is supported by Google Maps. Once order is placed by customer the DRU uses GPS tracking to travel to customer’s address. DRU is capable of navigating around fences and driveway but the order needs to be completed at the kerb only. Now you must be thinking how your pizza be safe before reaching you and no random guy can steal it. The storage compartment will open only when after entering a unique code received on customer’s mobile phone. Do not worry the robot will walk you through the process.
The four wheeled DRU has internal chassis made of aluminium and mild steel, while the body is made of ABS and urethane plastics. It has got two compartments one for keeping the pizza hot and the other for keeping the drinks cool. Both the food compartments are removable for cleaning and disinfecting purposes. The DRU measures 1185mm in height with compartment open and weighs in at 190kg.
Domino’s has already made it’s first pizza deliveries with DRU on some streets which were permitted by local authorities. DRU is capable of delivering average size pizza orders within a range of 20km with it’s current battery capacity. DRU will be fitted with cameras which will capture any attempt of theft or attack on the robot and will be sent straight to cloud.
Talking about DRU being safe Domino’s CEO Don Meji said:
“One of our inspirations for DRU is safety – it seems pretty crazy to us that we use one-and-a-half tonne vehicles to deliver a few hundred grams of pizza.”
DRU will start appearing in Domino’s stores within next six months but it is around two years time when DRUs will be fully ready for our roads. Meji explained:
“ It’s a genuinely autonomous robot today, but some of the technology on the AI side still has to life. He’s able to stop and sense and won’t hit things, but needs to be more fool-proof. For example, he’s not currently aware of how big he is on top which can be a problem when he spins.”
DRU idea is great and can really change the industry going forward but when and how soon remains to be seen. The future in world of tech is exciting and we surely will keep on bringing such news and information to you.