Uber is starting a new test drone program that is designed to deliver food to their customers via drones this summer. It is among one of the latest experiment to connect the customers in urban environment.
The drone program scheme basically works this way: a restaurant will pack a meal onto an Uber Eats drone. Which then will fly to a staging location that will travel miles (or in some cases, feet) to the customer. Furthermore, the company also plans to land the drones on the roofs of Uber Eats that comes with an identifying QR code.
Uber Eats is working on this new project closely with Uber Elevate, which is the flight operations and air mobility division for the company. The head of Uber Elevate’s flight operations, Luke Fischer, said it is essential to figure out how these drone delivers will work in urban environment. According to a research study, 68% of the world population is expected to live in urban cities by 2050 with few access points such as backyards and playgrounds.
Uber did a few test drone delivers last month which went beyond the visual line of slight from a McDonald to the campus of San Diego State University using AR200 drone. The company is building their own customized drone that is designed for food delivery. Furthermore, they plan to make the debut later this year.
The test drone program in San Diego is monitored by the federal UAS Integration Pilot Program. It was launched in 2018 in ten different locations, including San Diego to integrate the drones into booming modern communities safely. Luke Fischer said that Uber is in the last phase of winning FAA approval as an aircraft carrier under Part 135 rules.
Although, Uber has been struggling financially as they continue to lose billions a year with its growth slowing down in the ridesharing division. The renewed hope for integration of drone delivers could help Uber Eats bring at least $1 billion in revenue this year with food delivers worth $10 billion worldwide.
They plan to expand the drone delivery pilot program beyond McDonald to other Uber Eats restaurant partners, including popular places like Ins & Outs and Five Guys.
In the other recent trials, Amazon tested a new drone that is much more sturdy and provides protection against potential poachers while delivering package safely. Google also received approval from FAA for its new drone called Google’s Wing in late April for drone deliveries in Blacksburg, Virginia.