New Zealand's pizza lovers will be among the first in the world to have their favorite meal delivered by a drone, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said on Thursday.
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Bridges welcomed the announcement that Domino's Pizza Enterprises had joined forces with unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developer Flirtey to launch the drone delivery service.
"Domino's and Flirtey have chosen New Zealand for the trial because our forward-thinking aviation regulations encourage innovation, while protecting safety," Bridges said in a statement.
New aviation rules came into force in August 2015 to regulate and enable the use of UAVs for recreational and commercial purposes in New Zealand.
"The announcement of this trial confirms that New Zealand's framework for UAVs is world-class. In addition, the government has reviewed the laws for driverless vehicles and small passenger service operators, to ensure New Zealand stays at the forefront of transport innovation," said Bridges.
The trial was also a valuable opportunity for the Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation safety regulator, to make sure that appropriate safety precautions were taken when the trial got underway later this year.
The government is also continuing to work with Domino's on the possibility of testing a driverless pizza delivery unit on land.
The US-based pizza chain announced in March it was exploring the possibility of testing a pizza delivery robot in New Zealand.
Flirtey is the premier independent drone delivery service, with a mission to create the fastest, most efficient and customer-centric delivery service in the world. The U.S.-based startup has worked with NASA, the University of Nevada, Reno, The New Jersey Test Site and Virginia Tech to create the leading technology and logistics systems for a mass-market drone delivery network. Flirtey has conducted several historic drone delivery flights in the past year – including their most recent Federal Aviation Administration-approved delivery of hot and cold food items from a store to a customer's home in Nevada. Flirtey was also the first company to conduct an FAA-approved delivery in the U.S., the first to perform a fully autonomous drone delivery to a home in the U.S. and the first to conduct ship-to-shore drone delivery through a collaboration with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Flirtey's landmark achievements have been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution for display at its Air and Space Museum, which accepted a Flirtey drone to join other iconic American aircraft, including the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Wright Flyer, on display at the museum.
About Domino's Pizza Enterprises:
Domino's Pizza Enterprises Limited is the master franchisor for the Domino's Pizza brand in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany. Across these seven markets, DPE and its franchisees operate over 2,000 stores.