Domino’s Pizza is developing a flying pizza delivery drone. The “DomiCopter” prototype has already taken a test flight that lasted a full ten minutes and was able to efficiently deliver pizza to a nearby customer. Videos of this test flight are circulating on the internet. Currently the DomiCopter is controlled by remote control, but plans are to have the drone navigate on its own using a GPS coordinate system.
The DomiCopter includes the standard thermal insulated bag that is used by delivery drivers and it is driven by eight spinning blades. This type of drone is usually used for capturing broadcast quality videos. Other tools that can be used with the drone are air pressure sensors and an electronic compass.
Domino’s holds several patents for making and delivering pizza. Here is a list of some of the company’s patents:
|7,127,984||Dischargeable storage device for distributing food over a surface.|
|6,568,586||Foldable cardboard food box having food receptacle and dip tray.|
|6,513,671||Kit to store a plurality of food items at a food preparation station and plastic insulating panel for use therein.|
|4,816,646||Food delivery hot bag with electric hot plate.|
|4,718,769||Dough preparation apparatus|
Other companies are developing flying drones for food delivery and, of course, drones could be used to deliver non-food items. The energy used by a small flying drone to deliver a meal or parcel is likely much less than the energy used by a 4,000 pound car and driver to make the same delivery. Drone delivery will also likely be much quicker in crowded cities.
If flying drones are used by many restaurants and merchants, it would not take long for them to start filling the sky. How would they avoid collisions? Would they be permitted to fly over private property? What would happen if they lose power? These are some of the questions that should be addressed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which is currently working on regulations for flying drones.
Many deliveries are too heavy or too bulky for delivery by small flying drones. For these sorts of deliveries we may see driverless ground vehicles, such as Google’s self-driving car, known as the Goog. This car is already street legal in Florida, California and Nevada, and can be seen test driving around California and Nevada.
Some question whether this trend is a good thing. The cost of buying and operating a drone will be less than the cost of an employee. Just as weavers were replaced by powered looms in the industrial revolution, delivery drivers will likely be replaced by unmanned vehicles. This story, technology displacing workers, is old and will be repeated many times in the future.