Flying pizza may sound like some sort of dream come true, but if Domino’s Pizza has its way, it may soon become reality. The company announced Thursday that it has teamed up with drone maker Flirtey in New Zealand, with a plan to deliver pizzas using unmanned flying machines. Claiming itself to be “the first commercial drone delivery service in the world,” the pair aim to start flying drones to customer’s houses later this year.
“Domino’s is all about providing customers with choice and making customers lives easier,” Domino’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Don Meij, said in a statement. “Adding innovation such as drone deliveries means customers can experience cutting-edge technology and the convenience of having their Supreme pizza delivered via air to their door. This is the future.”
But don’t get too excited yet. The plan doesn’t have approval from New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and if it doesn’t give the thumbs-up, it may set the start date back a bit. The two companies have worked to keep the CAA in the loop though, with Thursday’s demonstration attended by the authority and New Zealand’s minister of transport Simon Bridges.
The plan has attracted skepticism from other drone manufacturers. X-craft, which has received CAA approval for its emergency services drones, said approval for Flirtey’s drones is a long way off. “It’s completely unfeasible at the moment,” X-craft director Philip Solaris told Stuff.co.nz.
If the pair manage to gain approval, they would have achieved something many firms have been struggling with. Drone makers have been pushing the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for delivery approval, but new rules unveiled in June put a damper on those dreams.
In the face of such skepticism, Flirtey was able to demonstrate that same month that drone deliveries are possible even with the FAA’s new rules (one of which means the pilot must maintain a direct view of the drone), suggesting that their new partner won’t give up without a fight.