DRU is not just conceptual. Trials went underway this week in Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.
Pizza delivered by a robot? It may seem out of this world, but for one pizza company, the idea may be closer to reality than ever.
The project is a collaborative effort from Domino’s and Australia-based robotic company Marathon Targets, which created the first autonomous robotics for the Australian defense force in the late 2000s.
DRU is made from water-tight, weather-proof acrylic plastic, with an aluminum and milled steel interior. The robot implements light sensors to help navigate through the streets — similar to the technology used by self-driving cars.
According to a video posted on Domino’s YouTube channel, DRU is expected to launch globally in March 2017.
DRU Deep Lab
An ARS Technica Report on Robots notes DRU uses software developed by the Australian military contractor Marathon, which manufactures autonomous robots with obstacle-avoidance capabilities.
The DRU is battery powered and has a range of about 20 kilometers (12 miles). It moves on footpaths and roads. Speed not designated.
I struggle to envision this on anything but neighborhood roads and sidewalks, in safe areas. The wheels do not look particularly robust. How long one would last on the streets of Chicago remains to be seen.
Regardless, DRU is the world’s first autonomous delivery vehicle. Others are sure to follow.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock