USA – Uber Eats, the online food ordering and delivery platform by Uber has said that it would start testing food delivery by drone in the region of San Diego, California as it ramps up its ecommerce.
The company has received regulatory approval from Federal Aviation Administration to begin the pilot, which will deliver food to a safe drop-off location where Uber Eats driver will complete the order.
Uber said it had developed a proprietary airspace management system called Elevate Cloud Systems that will guide the drones to their location.
Initial testing in San Diego was done with McDonald’s and will be expanded to include additional Uber Eats restaurants later this year.
“Our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button,” said Luke Fischer, head of flight operations at Uber Elevate.
“We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we’re able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate.”
A restaurant will load a meal onto an Uber Eats drone, which will then fly to a staging location for hand-off to an Uber Eats courier who will travel the last mile (or feet) to the customer.
The company is also planning to land drones on the roofs of Uber Eats cars, and the final delivery to the customer will be made by hand.
Uber just like companies is counting on food, a segment that is growing more than its core ride-hailing platform to grow revenues.
Amazon, another ecommerce behemoth recently announced that it would begin drone deliveries not many days to come.
The new Prime Air delivery drone with enhanced safety features to deliver packages to customers.
Amazon claims its goal for the finished Prime Air service is create fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in less than 30 minutes.
What remains to conquer are the challenges that delivery by drone presents- safety, noise pollution, and managing air traffic.