Last-mile drone delivery company SkyDrop has completed production of the fleet of UAVs it will use to transport Domino’s pizza orders to customers in New Zealand, bringing it closer to the launch of services the two companies announced earlier this year.
Debut of SkyDrop’s drone deliveries for Domino’s in New Zealand has been a while in coming. The companies announced the formal deal to prepare aerial services in the country in January, and had been involved in an earlier exploration phase prior to that. In addition to the convenience the operation will provide, commencement of regular flights will carry a bit of symbolic significance in a country that staged the world’s first pizza delivery by UAV back in 2016.
Though no hard date has yet been announced of when that will officially get under way, SkyDrop – formerly called Flirtey – says it has taken important steps toward the launch.
First of those is completed production of the fleet of drones it will use to make Domino’s deliveries in New Zealand. Those craft are capable of a carrying a relatively large payload of diverse menu items – three extra-large pizzas, or two Large Domino’s pizzas with one soda and one side dish being examples given.
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The operational system used to deliver orders to customers from Domino’s outlets across New Zealand will consist of two SkyDrop drones, one ground infrastructure platform, and one autonomous control station. That setup, the companies say, will enable seamless and frictionless workflow at store locations, and scalable store-to-door drone delivery operations.
The second step was the start of trials at SkyDrop’s Reno, NV facilities, where the company produces and sells its full stack solutions of hardware, software, and patents for autonomous last-mile drone delivery clients. Those tests are ongoing, and will be transferred to New Zealand in coming months, when experimentation of the commercial service will be initiated.
In addition to providing added value to Domino’s franchises and their customers, SkyDrone believes the start of its drone pizza deliveries will weave itself into the fabric of revived economic activity in New Zealand, which expects significant increases of visitors from abroad as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.