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Domino's delivers -- by drone

Pizza chain uses an unmanned aerial vehicle to deliver a pair of pies to a customer in New Zealand.

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Domino's Robotic Unit, or DRU, delivered a pair of pizzas to a customer in New Zealand.


Domino's

You can call it pie in the sky, but pizza delivery is now a real thing -- at least in the Land Down Under.

Domino's Pizza Enterprises said Wednesday it had completed what it called the world's first delivery of a pizza to a customer in New Zealand. Under the watch of a team of drone experts, the unmanned aerial vehicle used GPS navigation to autonomously deliver Peri-Peri Chicken and Chicken and Cranberry pizzas to a backyard in Whangaparaoa, about 20 miles north of Auckland.

Drones have grown in popularity among big retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, which are continually looking for new ways to get a jump on the competition and attract customers. The small, commercial aerial drones could avoid the delays of terrestrial deliveries by flying above traffic and avoiding circuitous roadways.

"They can avoid traffic congestion and traffic lights, and safely reduce the delivery time and distance by traveling directly to customers' homes," Domino's Group CEO Don Meij said in a statement. "This is the future."

Domino's isn't the only food chain looking to the heavens for its next delivery options. Chipotle Mexican Grill announced a partnership in September with Alphabet's Project Wing to test delivery of burritos to hungry students at the Virginia Tech.

But not all is smooth sailing in the skies. Earlier this month, Project Wing reportedly scrapped a partnership with Starbucks to deliver coffee to the caffeine-deprived masses as part of a cost-cutting move.

Domino's plans to use the information gathered from these flights to expand the service to Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.