Instead of greeting a delivery boy after ordering a Domino’s pizza, customers in Europe will soon have the pleasure of accepting their purchases from robots.
Domino’s announced plans to deliver pizzas to customers in Germany and the Netherlands via robot.
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd. created a special project group, Domino’s Robotic Unit, to oversee the project, which will use six-wheeled self-driving delivery robots created by London-based Starship Technologies. The battery-powered robot, which can carry up to 20 pounds, will drive itself to customers’ locations via sidewalks instead of roads.
Domino’s already launched successful autonomous vehicle programs in New Zealand and Australia in 2016, and New Zealand saw its first drone-delivered pizza in November.
Domino’s, which has franchises all across Asia and Europe, said the new delivery robot would address a shortage of drivers in various delivery locations.
“With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this,” Don Meij, Domino’s Pizza Enterprise's chief executive officer, said in a statement Wednesday.
After placing an order, customers who purchase Domino’s products within a one-mile radius of a store will receive a specific code which can be used to unlock the robot’s cargo hold, where pizzas will be stored. Products will also be placed in hot or cold insulated bags within the cargo hold, similar to the bags delivery drivers use.
Robots in the job market have caused some concern. PCW's recent Economic Outlook report said industrial robots have already resulted in hundreds of thousands of job losses and will cut about 38 percent more jobs in the next 15 years.
Self-serving kiosks have already started replacing human workers at various fast food restaurants, including a Pizza Hut in China where customers are greeted by an actual robot.
Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed, whose company owns restaurant brands like Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, told CNBC News Tuesday that robots could replace human workers in the food industry by “the mid-2020s.”
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