Following in the footsteps of Zomato -- one of India's largest restaurant listing and food delivery company -- ride-hailing company Uber has also started testing drone-based food delivery for UberEats, the company's online food ordering unit. UberEats started testing drone-based food delivery in San Diego with McDonald’s and it plans to expand to other restaurants later this year.
Uber says the service should decrease food delivery times. Here's how it works:
Once the order has been placed, the restaurant loads the meal into a drone. Once the order has been loaded into the drone, it takes off, tracked and guided by a new aerospace management system. Furthermore, the drone then meets an Uber Eats driver at a drop-off location. The drive then hand-delivers the meal to the customer.
In the future, the company wants to land drones atop parked vehicles near delivery locations and secure them to the vehicle for the final mile of the delivery. Last year Uber and the city of San Diego won a bid from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to test food delivery by air.
“We’ve been working closely with the FAA to ensure that we’re meeting requirements and prioritizing safety,” Luke Fischer, head of flight operations at Uber Elevate, said in a statement Wednesday.
Uber said the knowledge it gains from the tests will help with Uber’s planned aerial ride-sharing network.
Meanwhile, Zomato has successfully conducted a test flight of its drone delivery in India. During the trial run, the drone carried a payload of 5 kilograms and managed to cover 5 kilometres in 10 minutes. However, the company aims to complete commercial food deliveries in less than 15 minutes in the future.
Zomato also has plans to cover long-distance food deliveries using drones in the future.
Last year, Zomato acquired a Lucknow-based drone-delivery startup for an undisclosed amount. Zomato's TechEagle acquisition came right after regulations enabled commercial usage of drones in India starting 1st December 2018.
(With AP inputs)