Drone-delivered pizza

Here's a video showing off a publicity stunt in which Domino's delivers one of its "pizzas" using a drone (and, it appears, two or three cameradrones to document the event). The "pizza" is packed in an electrified, heated bag to keep it warm during the high altitude flight. Their publicity material promises a Domino's flight academy to train their deliverator corps to safely navigate the fast-food-filled skies and prevent midair collisions with flying Chinese takeouts, kebabs, curries, and package liquor delivery.

Introducing the Domino's DomiCopter! (via Digg Videos)


  1. Does it count as a drone if it’s being flown by someone the whole time, or does it need some amount of autonomous control to be a drone?

    1. Most of what are referred to as drones in the popular media, including the missile carrying Predator and Reapers dones, are remotely piloted vehicles, which have little or no autonomy.

      1. Yeah, “remote control airplane with cameras and weapons” was a bit too cumbersome, not to mention frighteningly accurate.

  2. Someone out there with these drones: I live in a town with no Indian food. Let’s talk.

  3. I thought the ads were supposed to be in the sidebar, and not in the main body.
    Guess the  PR guys at  Domino’s earned their pay today…

  4. i would be very tempted to order a pizza just to kidnap the octocopter….very very tempted.

    1.  tech support mostly…though pretty much all jobs with unskilled humans in the future will just be called “human whipping boy”
      because humans prefer to yell at other humans, even if that human has no more control over the situation than the person yelling, so there will always be people who’s only job is to be yelled at.

    2.  Rather than bemoaning the loss of crappy jobs and thinking that we should force businesses and society to pretend that technology doesn’t happen, we should be focusing on making damn sure our education and social systems ensure that workers are skilled and able to work at NON-CRAPPY jobs.

      But if you want to fight on the hill of defending shit jobs, that’s your choice.  I’d rather nobody needed to, and that we just focus on creating more good jobs.

      1. A good idea, except that the job that you start training for at age 17 may not exist by the time that you’re 30.

      2. Productivity gains from technology are great. The problem is that the profits from those gains go only to the owners and not to the workers. The end result of robot workers in our current system is a small number of people who own the robots and everything else, a small percentage of the rest of the people maintaining the robots and doing other jobs we don’t trust robots to do or can’t program them to do, and the vast majority of people unemployed. At best in our current system, the unemployed will receive some kind of basic needs welfare.

        1. The great thing about it is that it’s unsustainable and will collapse. I expect a Communist revolution in the USA at some point, I’m not even kidding. And it will be forced by technology. I only point you to Zynga to see how choking yourself out is ineffective as a long term strategy. Yes, it’s going to suck for a while. But once we have our bloody massacre, it’ll get better!

    3. Have you ever worked a delivery job?  I did.  It sucked.  Was it better than no job?  Sure, but let’s not glorify a gig where you get little respect, stiffed on tips, and occasionally shot at.

      Imagine a world where there are no liverymen to help you into the carriage or people to spend the day hand-picking cotton.  What a horror.

          1. There are worse, but the best comment I ever heard about it from a driver was “I guess I’ll go home and just eat a can of soup.  Maybe I’ll splurge on crackers.”

  5. I love it. Yes, it’s a publicity stunt, and a sky filled with drones won’t be without hazards, but I love the idea.  Also, drones don’t expect a tip for driving a box a few blocks (not that I resent the tip, but I can never figure out how much to tip or what calculus to use).

    I would imagine that potential drone thieves would have given a cc number or something prior to the delivery.  I wonder if the lost drones/saved wages would become a net profit in the end?

    To be honest, a lot of pizza making and delivery could be automated, taking people out of the equation.  That may or may not be a good thing.

    Also – the drone is electrical, unlike the usual rattletrap junker that seems to be driven by most pizza people.  Not a bad thing.

    1. Two/three bucks or thereabouts for a single pizza delivery on a busy Friday night.  If they just dropped off four pies and a slippery two-liter in the rain, give them at least $5.  They’re paying gas, car payments (which is why you’re seeing them in those “rattletraps”), insurance, and other sundry costs and getting about ten bucks an hour.  If they’re just a block away, give at least a dollar minimum.

      Given the typical maximum  delivery range is about 15 minutes from the pizza place and they’re spending most of their time in their car burning gas for that hour, any tip they get is not going to hurt.  

      If you’re a regular and see the same delivery guy, do yourself a favor and tip a little more.  When I drove we definitely had regulars who tipped and those that didn’t.  When the call came in at the same time, the tipper got their delivery first.

      So hopefully this is of help.  If you need more specifics, respond with details and I’ll give you an exact amount to tip.If you want automated pizza making, look to any of the big chains. Dough comes in frozen, thaws, under human hands for toppings (until you can teach a robot about light sauce, half sausage and onion, half feta and broccoli, you’re better off for humans here) and then through the conveyor belt oven.  And it certainly tastes it.  We have a great local place with coal oven and humans all the way and the difference is well worth the extra two dollars or whatever.

      1. Actually, that ingredient automation sounds easily doable… including all the preferences. Dominoes has a great preference system, so you could just give the customer an opportunity with the slider. Maybe we could even automate most of the delivery trip with the drone and have a Human do the fine work of finding the customer and landing the thing. Might be possible to do a one man pizza shop.

  6. oh no. dominos are ripping of the freie univerisät berlin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDtsTQNGfWQ

  7. What’s with the scare quotes around pizza? Getting tired of this whole routine of snobs acting like they’re too good for chain restaurants and the dirt-grubbing proles who enjoy them.

    1. I’m not acting. I actually *am* too good for chain restaurants. I have no problem with dirt-grubbing proles though! (Your words.)

    2. In this case, the scare quotes are correctly placed.  Domino’s makes a disk of cardboard coated with a tomato-esque substance upon which a layer of plastic-y cheese-food product is sprinkled along with customer-ordered toppings, some of which are of dubious origin.  

      If it’s snobbery to dislike such a “pizza”, I can live with that.

    3. You are correct, they should have said “pizza type food-product” instead.

      I’ll put any non-chain pizza place up against Dominos in a taste test.  Yes, any.  Even that one where someone found a band aid in their cheese that one time.  I’m not snobby, just aware that Dominos’ entire claim to fame rests on how they brought the delivery standard of pizza down to 30 minutes or less, not the quality of their pie.

    4.  If it were any other chain except Domino’s, I’d agree with you. I’ve tried most of them (Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Blackjack, Papa John’s, even regional stuff like Round Table or Godfather’s) and while local places tend to be better, they’re all pretty decent… except Domino’s. Even as a starving college student doing an all-nighter, I couldn’t force myself to finish a single slice of pizza the one time I ordered from them. It wasn’t even FOOD, let alone pizza. Never again.

  8. That looks like a normal delivery bag, which has an element that is heated in the rack it sits in when it is being loaded. That part is old tec.

    1. I’d like to see an analysis of battery weight needed to keep a pizza hot. Let alone how powerful a ‘copter needs to be to lift two pizzas and their carrying bag.

    1.  New York had pretty well developed plans for a publicly accessible vacuum tube system-as-matternet, which seems pretty amazing to me. I think they did a piece about it on the 99% invisible podcast.

  9. I’m thinking of starting a Ballistic Burrito delivery service for people who want their food faster. Just call in your coordinates and take cover.

      1. The infrastructure investment for all those tubes proved prohibitive. One well-positioned rail gun in San Francisco’s Mission district could deliver a devastating blast of flavor clear across to the East Bay.

        1. I’ve eaten burritos that began pneumatic and went ballistic faster than I care to remember. What was delivered you probably would not want to taste.

          How will you coordinate your Ballistic Burritos with Google’s sure-to-follow private Burrito Pods targeted for employees only with flight trajectories that are never made public? I can just see futuristic blue burrito pods slicing mid-air through your aero-wrappers and leaving salsa all the Bay Area.

  10. I’m pretty sure this is in the UK judging by the environment and clues such as the direction cars are parked on the streets.

    If so, I don’t think they flew it in one take as they would like you to believe because the Civil Aviation Authority (sec 166) rules state that operators of “small unmanned aircraft” (< 20kg per sec 255) must remain in direct visual contact with the aircraft at all times. This assumes they didn't get special permission from the CAA, which is seems unlikely.

    It's a good idea though, and actually quite feasible with current technology. The Aducopter open source flight controller software has a GPS-based "return to launch" facility which flies the craft up above any likely obstacles, returns to a pre-defined set of co-ordinates then gently descends. Just add pizza (as opposed to "pizza").

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