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Car and Driver: What Took You So Long? Dominos Introduces Pizza-Delivery Robot


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Dru-830x467Few things in life offer more reward for less effort than home-delivered pizza. But while the idea of sinking your teeth into a tasty slice can be appealing, the bummer is the pesky delivery guy, who loiters in the doorway judging your slovenly outfit and your measly tip. The solution? Robots, duh.

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But these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill C-3PO knock-off humanoid bots. They’re fully enclosed, four-wheeled carbohydrate-dispensing machines, complete with heated and cooled, lockable compartments that require the purchaser to enter passcode to retrieve their delivered food. Its space-age, Kubrickan exterior styling is sure to appeal to middle-aged sci-fi geeks as well as neighborhood paintball enthusiasts.DOM_080316_670-626x382

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Domino’s Pizza, which happens to share its hometown of Ann Arbor Michigan with Car and Driver, has long history of delivery innovation, including in recent years electric vehicles and Chevrolet Spark-based custom delivery wagons. When it came time to go robotic, Domino’s called in Australian technology startup Marathon Targets to help in the creation of its autonomous delivery vehicles. Containing thousands of dollars worth of military robotics tech, the Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU) employs GPS tracking technology that syncs with Google maps—naturally—and LIDAR to identify surrounding environment, which essentially means it won’t crash into random vehicles or attack the neighbor kids playing in the street–although one imagines there are numerous hackers already addressing these shortcomings.dominos-pizza-robot-9

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Still just in the testing phases, the DRU is limited to urban areas, as its 12-mph top speed isn’t suitable for major roadways, although it could give much of the local fauna a run for its money. In this day and age, if a guy can’t get his hands on a tasty grease wheel without avoiding all forms of human interaction, what does it say about us as a species? Exactly.
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