After unveiling the world’s first pizza delivery robot in Brisbane last year, the Domino’s pizza chain is taking its first real steps into artificial intelligence.

Last year, Domino’s unveiled DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit), the world’s first pizza delivery robot, right here in Brisbane.

While they’re not quite ready to roll DRU out across the country, the company has just launched DRU Assist, a virtual, voice-activated assistant.

Domino’s claims that DRU Assist, launched at the company’s Abacus Tech event series, will help customers place their favourite order faster, find out what’s new and get a great deal, while also “adding personality to the online ordering process”.

Domino’s Group CEO Don Meij says DRU Assist, and other innovations launced at the Abacus Tech event, will lead the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry.

“DRU Assist is the first ever virtual assistant available to help customers place their orders online the Australian QSR industry,” he says.

Available on desktop and within the Domino’s app, DRU Assist will launch as a public beta today.

“Domino’s customers will be able to ask DRU Assist either via text on the web or voice recognition in the app to order their favourite pizzas and make customisations,” Mr Meiji says.

“DRU Assist is on hand to help our customers streamline their ordering process with efficient and helpful service with a side of personality.

“DRU Assist will continue to learn and improve recognition skills from every customer experience.”

Using a natural language voice engine powered by Nuance, DRU Assist will employ a “cheeky, fun personality” while chatting to Domino’s customers, and will recognise customer’s orders verbally in the app.

“As of this year Domino’s as a company will move from a ‘Mobile-First’ mindset to ‘AI-First’ technology,” Mr Meiji says.

“Allowing the beta to be open to the whole nation means that DRU Assist will learn faster, and provide a better service for our customers.

“We encourage all Domino’s customers across Australia to order via DRU in the app or on the web, and be a part of the beginning of AI in Australia.”

Mr Meiji says DRU Assist will soon be integrated into other devices in your home.

“Domino’s plans to work with third party partners to integrate the DRU Assist platform into other devices and channels, including smart home devices — this is the way of the future.”

Other innovations teased at the Abacus Tech event included Domino’s Anywhere, a service that will allow customers to drop a location pin using GPS locators so Domino’s can find them at parks, beaches and other locations without specific street addresses, and DRU Drone.

Further trials are set for DRU Drone in New Zealand in the second half of the year, with plans to gradually roll out an Autonomous Delivery fleet of land-based robotic units and air-based drones in Australia and other countries around the world.

“The continued testing and expansion of our autonomous delivery systems demonstrates that Domino’s is committed to providing innovative, safer delivery systems across our network,” Mr Meiji says.