back to article Domino's trials trundling four-wheeled pizza delivery bot

Domino's Pizza's Australian slice has decided wheeled drones trundling down footpaths are the pizza delivery mechanism of the future. The Domino's Robotic Unit sports LiDAR (light detection and ranging) object detection enabling the four-wheels Wall-E lookalike to deliver hot pizza and cold drinks without bumping into …

  1. Tromos

    Delivery speed

    The range could be vastly increased by having a supply of unbaked pizzas and a built-in oven.

    1. petur
      Coat

      Re: Delivery speed

      yup, and it won't even change the quality of the pizza

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Delivery speed

        Yes, a proper brick built pizza over, complete with a robot handling one of those big long handled pizza shovel things.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: Delivery speed

          It's called a pizza peel, and it was also good for whacking the delivery boy on the ass!

  2. Captain DaFt

    HEY GUYS!

    I gotta great idea! Let's make a delivery car that drives itself the sidewalks! Really slowly, and it'll be at just the right height to have poor visibility to pedestrians and traffic!

    What could possibly go wrong?

    ... Yo, Dominos, It's your customers that are supposed to be the weed smokers!

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: HEY GUYS!

      that is the least of the drones problems in our neck of the woods. It would be on bricks (or ebay) within 10 minutes. Even the spooty yoof moped riders fear leaving their mopeds for fear of them being deposited in the canal.

  3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    That vehicle looks like a cannon

    Which reminds me of one of the Zoombini games "Make me a pizza".

    Perhaps Dominos should investigate a-line-of-sight air-delivery service.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Angel

    First they came for the sky...

    So Amazon want to grab a slice of our airspace for their delivery drones, now Dominos (and doubtless many other delivery companies right behind them) want to take over our footpaths. Perhaps Coca-Cola would like to make a landgrab to deliver sugary carbonated products through our water pipes next?

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: First they came for the sky...

      Oh, I have a sure-fire idea - so the sky is a problem because airplanes and the ground is a problem because cars and pedestrians? Clearly, what we need is an army of parkour-bots delivering stuff jumping from rooftop to rooftop! In most places, that space has no traffic whatsoever - problem solved!

      1. myarse

        Re: First they came for the sky...

        I like the idea of pizza delivering mole robots.

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: First they came for the sky...

          "I like the idea of pizza delivering mole robots."

          I love that idea too, but I think there have been trial runs with something similar and it didn't end all that well...

    2. scrubber

      Re: First they came for the sky...

      "sugary carbonated products through our water pipes"

      So the nanny state could "sugar tax" me every time I flush the toilet or take a shower, no thanks.

      1. Chemical Bob
        Boffin

        Re: First they came for the sky...

        They could just use the Internet. It's a series of tubes, you know...

  5. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    Cunning plan...

    Get a friend to step in front of it each time it tries to go around a few blocks from your house, until the "free if not delivered in" offer triggers.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Cunning plan...

      I thought the cut that to $3 off these days. Any, don't be surprised if anyone tried to seriously interfere with it, it would phone home to report this, have cameras to record it, and maybe even emit a loud noise to drive the interlopers away and draw police attention.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    What am I missing?

    If it goes at walking speed, the range is limited by cooling to as far as you could walk - so why not just walk and collect the thing?

    1. Sir Barry
      Alert

      Re: What am I missing?

      Are you saying I should go 'outside'???

      Madness, that suggestion is madness,,,,,,

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: What am I missing?

      If it goes at walking speed, the range is limited by cooling to as far as you could walk - so why not just walk and collect the thing?

      So assuming that none of its battery power is used to power a heated compartment then?

      1. scrubber

        Re: What am I missing?

        "assuming that none of its battery power is used to power a heated compartment"

        Not bloody likely in Australia, mate.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: What am I missing?

          If the compartment was well insulated, it shouldn't lose heat all that fast. It isn't like a fresh out of the oven pizza is edible anyway, it relies on some heat loss before you can eat it. Surely it could beat those poorly insulated bags that the delivery guys use.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: What am I missing?

            " It isn't like a fresh out of the oven pizza is edible anyway, it relies on some heat loss before you can eat it."

            I disagree - part of the fun of eating pizza is popping the blisters on the top of your mouth the morning after!

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: What am I missing?

      Youre one of that pinko-commie-muslin terrists Fox News told be about, arentcha?

      Blast, this mindset is so dumb I can't even fake it convincingly... and now my head hurts...

  7. thomas k

    anti-theft

    Put a keypad on it. The orderer will have received a PIN that unlocks the storage compartment. Anyone else that monkeys with it gets 50,000 volts.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: anti-theft

      But no one at the local Domino's will think of resetting the default password (which will be either 0000 or 1234).

      1. Lord Raa

        Re: anti-theft

        If it's pizza, surely the code should be 1077, in honour of Philip J. Fry?

  8. ukgnome

    This is why the robots will rebel

  9. Someone_Somewhere

    Let me see now

    For the price of a margherita* plus the cost of travelling to the false address I supply, I can get my hands on a robot designed by a military contractor, take it apart and learn their secrets.

    I'd buy /that/ for a dollar!**

    * and a phonecall if I don't have web access.

    ** or probably Au$ 4.99, but you get my point.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Let me see now

      Sorry, you lost me at the Robocop quote, still thinking of the lovely jubleys' in the tv show in the movie

      https://youtu.be/85cL1HisrNc

      classic!

      Now if the droid would deliver beer...

  10. Jos V

    Not wanting to state the obvious...

    Ok, see this robot as a resource, same as a human delivery person.

    So, instead of hiring a resource for $10/hour, who can deliver the pizza within 30 minutes on a motorbike/car, including the time it takes to prepare it, being able to fire it when misconducting, lay-off when business is going down, or hire more when it flourishes, able to avoid obstacles just for the sake of self-preservation, you are now going to invest stupid money into the development of a automatic toy, then pay stupid money again for each new unit, and get stuck with it in your inventory, -WALKS- the pizza to each address trundling through ever changing environments and needs paid operators and maintenance people to keep working, and guarantees every delivery to be late and cold.

    Who comes up with this shit? Some new-age punk college drop-out thinking that everything robot is the hip way to go?

    1. Tim 11

      Re: Not wanting to state the obvious...

      I suspect the conversation went something like this:

      "have you seen the amount of free publicity Amazon got from their pie-in-the-sky delivery drone videos.?"

      "yeah let's get us some of that"

    2. Triggerfish

      Re: Not wanting to state the obvious...

      Probably more some business/marketing wonk/fwit who thiinks things are cool without understanding engineering/real world limitations.

    3. Yag
      Happy

      Re: Not wanting to state the obvious...

      Common sense? on El reg's comments?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give the scrotes around here half a chance

    They'll have this kit stripped, re-built and weaponised.

    I can also see the local dogs following this sucker like the children of Hamelin.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Give the scrotes around here half a chance

      They'll have this kit stripped, re-built and weaponised.

      Given who developed it, it is probably weaponised already.

      1. Yag

        "Given who developed it, it is probably weaponised already."

        Aren't domino's pizzas biological weapons already?

  12. jake Silver badge

    Earth to Dominos ...

    ... might want to spend money on learning to make actual pizza before spending money on delivering it. Just a thought.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Earth to Dominos ...

      Shitty pizza hasn't hindered their success so far, why change things now?

  13. Blofeld's Cat
    Terminator

    Hmm...

    FX: Ding-dong, door opens

    Robot: "Good evening, here is your Domino's pizza."

    Householder: "Thank you"

    Robot: [still holding box] "Did you order black olives?"

    Householder: "Yes".

    Robot: "Can't stand black olives"

    Householder: "Just give me the pizza."

    Robot: "I could have been a military robot and seen the world you know. But no, they made me deliver pizza instead."

    Householder: "My pizza, please."

    Robot: [sigh] "Here you are. It's probably cold by now. They usually are as all the heaters on my left side are broken. I've told them of course but no one listens."

    Householder: "Goodbye" [closes door]

    FX: Ding-dong, door opens.

    Householder: "What now?"

    Robot: "You forgot your garlic bread ... That's cold too."

    Householder: "I didn't order garlic bread."

    Robot: "Everyone gets free garlic bread in happy hour ... not that I have ever really been happy..."

    Householder: [slams door]

    FX: Ding-dong, door opens.

    Robot: "Did I mention your foster parents are dead?"

    ...

    1. Someone_Somewhere

      Re: Hmm...

      Pizza?

      Don't talk to me about pizza!

      You are Marvin Tpa and I claim my Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster!

  14. Alister Silver badge

    But there's a bit more to this than a stunt: there's a working prototype, trials have been conducted and thought's been given to safety

    Classic greengrocer's...

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Considering that was probably meant as "thought has been given", would you care to elaborate on that...?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Hmm, I never considered that it might be an abbreviation of thought has.

        It's not something I would ever write, except to illustrate the spoken word.

        Mea Culpa.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          @ Alister

          Ego te absolvo.

          Ergo bibamus!

          1. Alister Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: @ Alister

            @allthecool...sod it :)

            Oh, go on then...

          2. Jos V

            Re: @ Alister

            Veni vidi vino!

    2. Someone_Somewhere

      Re: Classic greengrocer's...

      ...what?

      And which bit is classic:

      a) the greengrocer?

      b) the greengrocer's mystery item?

      c) more than one of the above?

      Don't keep us in suspense. Tell us!

      TELL us!

      Perspiring minds want to know!*

      * nature abhors an unfinished coda.**

      ** or do I mean unfinished codeine ?***

      *** one is never really sure once the codeine is finished.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Classic greengrocer's...

        I'd love to see a mind perspire.

        (I'd also love to see someone actually 'make' sense, just once. But Lemmy was right, of course: "You can't have it all - where you'd put it?")

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll be impressed if this thing can climb up 5 flights of stairs to get to my apartment.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      And how would it work a lift in a high-rise?

      1. Sir Sham Cad

        Also, how the hell is it going to knock on the door to let you know your nosh has arrived? SMS? We know how reliable those are.

        1. caffeine addict Silver badge

          Easy - fit it with twin air horns.

          Then order pizza to your enemy's house at 3am...

      2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: And how would it work a lift in a high-rise?

        Maybe in a way like the remote controlled trash cans did during the bank job in Malcolm. BTW a film well worth watching. The dawn ride with the DIY tram is truely magical.

      3. Putters

        Simples !

        First thing that sprang to mind when I saw your comment was that they could use the same solution as Mary Mungo and Midge

        http://www.davethewave.co.uk/mary-mungo-midge/big-jpg/lift%20button3.jpg

  16. Someone_Somewhere

    > I'll be impressed if this thing can climb up 5 flights of stairs to get to my apartment.

    > And how would it work a lift in a high-rise?

    That's when the auxilliary drone detaches from the body of the droid and flies the pizza up to your window. Either that or you'll have to go down and let it in - which is the more likely scenario?*

    * given the over-engineering inherent in the whole concept my money's on the auxilliary drone.**

    ** it's ill-conceived/totally superfluous and solves a problem nobody had in the first place - so it's probably already planned as the next upgrade to the service.

  17. hatti

    Optional extras

    I hope it is equipped with a digital soundtrack of a clapped out moped ridden by a teenager with issues.

    1. Someone_Somewhere
      Devil

      Re: Optional extras

      > a teenager with issues

      I take it the words 'tautology', 'redundant' and 'self-fullfilling prophecy' aren't to be found in your dictionary. ;)

  18. Sleep deprived
    Happy

    "the bot will move at walking speed"

    Just stand in its way so its pedestrian-avoiding sonar makes it stop, and after 30' your pizza is cold... and free :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the bot will move at walking speed"

      As opposed to cold and not free, like normal?

      Of course, they've developed this snazzy 'bot, and not realised that at walking pace, delivery is only going to be feasible for people too lazy to walk a few minutes, or those willing to wait a pretty long time. My local Dominoes is 8 minutes by car or moped, but four and a half miles. So it'll take that bloody stupid 'bot and hour to get to me (and an hour to get back to base).

      The investors in Dominoes and these tech guys need their heads examining if they think that $190k deliverybot that can do two orders a night is a good investment.

  19. Owain 1

    R2D2 or BigTrak

    It seems quite big to me. I suspect lots of room inside. but not for pizza:

    I think that each one is personally piloted R2D2 style by a dwarf. Thus keeping jobs for people and providing much required built in obstacle avoidance system / ability to climb stairs as and when required..

    It also looks a tad like bigtrak. Perhaps there's some kid a block away who typed in F99, F99, Left, F2, [Deliver Pizza], Right, Right, F99, [Fire Laser]. [GO]

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: R2D2 or BigTrak

      It seems quite big to me

      24" Pizza, or as the Americans call it... "Small"

  20. Daedalus Silver badge
    Devil

    Humans are better

    Because they can be manufactured by unskilled labour.

  21. qwertyuiop
    Unhappy

    The end of an era

    This could mark the end of whole "pizza delivery man" genre of pr0n...

    1. Jess--

      Re: The end of an era

      "This could mark the end of whole "pizza delivery man" genre of pr0n..."

      or usher in a whole new genre

    2. Someone_Somewhere

      Re: The end of an era

      Not at all: it merely portends an increase in 'pizza delivery dwarf' porn (q.v. Owain 1's comment about R2D2/Big Trak).

  22. soterrik

    slow slow slow

    Did anyone notice how long it took for the pizza to arrive? It started off at night, went through a park past a jogger, past a house with a bunch of smiling people on the steps, then it eventually arrived the next night. I really doubt that the people receiving the pizza would be smiling... perhaps they arranged for loads of photographers to be there as witnesses in case the guy went ape and took out his frustrations on the £30K machine.

  23. Down not across Silver badge

    Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken

    The AU$30,000, 190kg machine, was dreamt up in Dominos research labs and designed by Sydney military robotics firm Marathon Robotics which has supplied live-fire training bots to the Australian Army.

    So is it Leela or Durandal?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Deployment in France"

    Let's ponder the fate of the robot fleet:

    1) Robot spotted by raging peasants doing peaceful protests. DESTROYED.

    2) Robot arrested by cops or savagely beaten by CRS because it was "looking a bit funny". DESTROYED.

    3) Robot burned by demented "students" demanding money from the government while putting fire to the university. DESTROYED!

    4) Crazed leftist ATTAC% protestors see the demon of capitalism unleashed. DESTROYED!

    5) Crazed unionist protestors see the precursor of the dark satanic mills reawakened. DESTROYED!

    6) Entrepreneurial yoof disappear robot and sell spare parts on the grey market. RECYCLED!

    7) Any generated revenue is taxed to 110% because why not. This is France. UNECONOMIC!!

    8) Robot used as target practice by ISIS dudes testing their new AKMs. CHARLIEBOT!!

    9) Robot probably in violation of some labor legislation or equality decree. IMPOUNDED!

    10) Moroccan dealers disappear robot, which reappears in Marrakech within 24h, neatly reprogrammed. LOST!

  25. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Coat

    Proper Research Required

    .....scientists have yet to determine the effects of 24/7 exposure to pepperoni for any system......

  26. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "Lidar....being used in driverless car trials across the world..."

    The 'Ford Fusion' was held out as an example of a self-driving car that can stay precisely centered in its lane even when the lane markings are covered in snow. Wow, nice. But how does it accomplish this?

    According to the reports, it needs 600GB of reference Lidar data (environment map, as location reference technique) per "hour of driving" (slowly), plus it requires a bespoke cm-accurate radio navigation system. The former database would be orders of magnitude too much data to carry around (for a practical, general purpose car), and the latter does not yet exist as a general solution.

    All those folks that are starting to line up outside the car sellers, waiting for perfectly practical self-driving cars to be offered, might be advised to make themselves comfortable. There are still quite a few major 'magic' milestones in the schedule.

    The Google Streetview cars should be gathering Lidar data for future use. If they're not, they should start. Somebody needs to do it.

    The John Deer company has some GPS tech, used for farming, that brings GPS accuracy down to about 50 cm. They're positioned to make a lot of money from their patents, except of course everybody is waiting for them to expire. Sigh...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "Lidar....being used in driverless car trials across the world..."

      "The Google Streetview cars should be gathering Lidar data for future use. If they're not, they should start. Somebody needs to do it."

      What good is LIDAR data when the environment can change at any time. What if they break ground on a new building, replace the telephone poles, or there's simply too much snow on the ground. How does the LIDAR recognize each of these?

      I think that's why Google goes with a more general system for navigation, plus if they want to test in snowy conditions, they DO have access to Donner Pass.

  27. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Let me tell ya...

    Well let me tell ya... I was at a friend's place and he ordered pizza delivery from a place that was probably a block away. He asked me if I thought a 30 cent tip was good and I was like "No, not really, here let me chip in". He said "No I've got it" and tipped him 30 cents. I'm pretty sure they'd send him the drone if they had one 8-).

  28. David Roberts

    For the last half mile?

    Given that I don't know how far apart the pizza shops are...

    These devices are far too slow to service anything but a few city blocks and the requirement to have enough power to return to base also limits their reach.

    So perhaps a "mother van" which carries them out to their target block whilst charging, drops them off, then collects them again after their short delivery run? Charging them on the way back to reload?

    No - it all looks far too complicated unless these things roam the streets with a gas fired oven (electric would limit the range) and a magazine of uncooked pizza so they can do "just in time" cook and deliver.

    Of course, if they get an upgrade of "smarts" you could find them unplugging your electric car from the road side charging point so they can top off their batteries.....

    Nah.

    Just a publicity tool plus a threat to their work force to up performance and reduce wages. Have one trundle round the area and see the motivation soar (or at least struggle slightly further above zero).

    P.S. Similar problems with Amazon drones - out and back times. One model is to have the delivery van park in the middle of an area and have the drones do the last hundred yards or so in parallel. The slowest part for meat sack delivery drivers is the park, get package, walk to house, deliver, walk back, start up and drive.

  29. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    I don't understand

    How is this thing supposed to deliver pizza? Does it first go to some establishment that sells pizza, load up, and then deliver it to the customer?

    I suppose it's conceivable that there might be some secret repository of pizza in a Domino's shop, though I've never found any there. Just these weird, utterly unconvincing simulacra.

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