We've all heard about Amazons plans for flying mail delivery, but these are being delayed by the various local aviation authorities as they restrict paths of these vehicles. But if you can't wait for the wheels of our local government to turn, then you may be able to get your pizza delivered by a four-wheel automated vehicle.
Domino's Australia, in association with Marathon Robotics (a subsidiary of Marathon Targets), have investigated using a military grade robot to drive over pavements, cycle paths and other off-road areas. Since 2008 Marathon Targets have been developing robots for use in army training grounds and by working with Domino's they apply their knowledge in autonomous vehicles to rugged delivery bots.
Marathon's traditional bots look exactly like you would imagine army robots to look like, for example tan colored and rugged. Thankfully when they hits the roads in Australia they'll look a little more civilian friendly. As this video shows, Domino's Robotic Unit (DRU) has had a complete makeover and, it has a distinctive appearance that will keep the pizza hot and drinks cold while also ensuring they are safe and secure before the recipient inputs a security code into their cellphone when DRU arrives at their door. Although DRU has an on board GPS and dedicated maps to help it find its way to its destination, unexpected obstacles do have a habit of appearing. TO help avoid these problems the unit also has an array of laser sensors and cameras which looks out for things in its path so it can steer around them.
Of course there are problems with the system, like how it will handle steps and is it heavy enough to prevent thieves from taking it, but at some point in the future, the worry about whether or not to tip the delivery guy may be a thing of the past.