UberEats to trial delivering grub by drone
Fast food is about to get even faster after UberEats announced that it has just been given the green light to trial food drone deliveries in San Diego.
Announcing the news at the Uber Elevate summit last week, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told the conference that the drone trial programme would allow food to be delivered to users in as little as five minutes at the “push of a button.”
“Uber can’t just be about cars,” Khosrowshahi said. “It’s my personal belief that a key to solving urban mobility is flying burgers, in any city. We need flying burgers.”
Uber’s food delivery drone trial is just one project in a whole host of other programmes approved by the US federal government. While it would be nice to have, as Khosrowshahi calls it, flying burgers, other programmes on the list are arguably more beneficial than food delivery drones.
The Integration Pilot Programme, as it’s known, grants selected companies and startups permission to test drone flights across ten states. The other companies include big hitters like Apple, Microsoft and Intel and startups like Flirtey Inc, Zipline and AirMap, each working on different drone delivery solutions. Flirtey, for example, will be delivering medical equipment across Reno, Nevada, while AirMap will be delivering blood samples across San Diego.
Drone deliveries haven’t been able to take flight in the UK as quickly as they have in the US – mainly because of the regulation stating that unmanned vehicles can’t be flown out of sight of the operator. But a major overhaul of the air traffic control system in the UK, which improves on drone tracking in the air, means that from 2020, drones could potentially be allowed to fly beyond the operator. This could mean that takeaway drone deliveries could be in the UK sooner than you’d expect.
Last year, Uber announced a partnership with NASA which would see the two companies come together to collaborate on making flying taxis a reality. The two signed a second agreement which would see the two explore human and cargo air travel in urban areas last week.