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Dominos Develops Smiling, Self-Driving Delivery Bot

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When Google announced its self-driving cars, there were mixed reactions. Some rejoiced that autonomous vehicles might one day prevent car crashes caused by human error (aka the vast majority). Others considered the ramifications for a night out on the town with your own mechanical designated driver, or mused that self-driving cars would lead to a lot more sex in cars. Still others worried that widespread adoption of the technology could spell trouble for current, self-piloted vehicles.

And one visionary looked at it, one hand on his or her rumbling belly, and thought, “I wonder if I can get that thing to bring me a pizza.”

Meet the DRU, an autonomous pizza delivery robot currently being tested by Domino’s in New Zealand (DRU stands for Domino’s Robotic Unit).

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This isn’t just some random idea, though—that really awkward-looking couple were the recipients of the actual first delivery on March 8th, and Domino’s is working with New Zealand authorities to run larger-scale trials in the country. That military technology in the delivery bot, by the way, is from an Australian military contractor called Marathon, which develops obstacle-avoiding robots.

The self-driving Domino’s bot rolls around at 3.3 feet tall, with enough room to carry up to 10 pizzas and a separate compartment to keep drinks cool in. When it arrives to its destination somewhere within 6 miles (apparently, the DRU has a single-charge range of 12 miles), the customer enters in a specific code to access the interior compartment.

Setting aside my potential future job loss to what appears to be WALL-E mixed with EVE, can’t you just see a line of these things filtering past your local Domino’s before dispersing to deliver whatever you ordered? Then again, that thing looked like it was driving through people’s yards, which, while okay in a lot of countries, almost certainly wouldn’t fly here. So that would mean the DRU would be limited to sidewalks, which would most likely affect its range, especially if the sidewalk had stairs.

You hear that, you job-stealing mechanical monster? I can climb stairs.

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News Source: AutoGuide