If you live in San Diego and order a delicious meal on Uber Eats this summer, chances are a drone would be delivering it to you.
Uber announced it intends to begin operating autonomous quadcopters in San Diego this summer. San Diego is one of the 10 cities selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to test commercial drones pending regulatory approval.
This project falls under the purview of Uber Elevate – the ride-hailing company’s aerial Research & Development arm.
In pilot tests earlier this year, Elevate orchestrated deliveries of McDonald’s meals up to a half-mile away, beyond the line of sight to customers on the campus of Viejas Arena at San Diego State University and surrounding areas.
Uber says its fleet of off-the-shelf drones will fly to designated landing zones, where couriers will pick up deliveries, all of which are packaged in custom-designed insulating containers. The drones might also land on the roofs of parked Uber cars marked with QR codes, which will transport the food to its final destination.
The company claims that its drones can fulfill orders in about 7 minutes — and potentially faster once it deploys upgraded models that can reach speeds upwards of 70 miles per hour.
This announcement comes just a week after Amazon revealed that its newly designed, fully electric, and completely autonomous Prime Air drone will begin delivering packages to customers, by which the company aims to fulfill orders within 30 minutes for shoppers within 7.5 miles of an Amazon warehouse.
Companies like Microsoft and Flytrex have also trialed airborne delivery services in cities like Holly Springs, North Carolina and Wichita, Kansas. FedEx too plans to develop a drone-powered aircraft inspection program in Tennessee. Matternet teamed up with UPS to launch an aerial delivery service from WakeMed’s flagship hospital and the campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Looks like drones will be the future of delivery systems, and a major part of the supply and logistics industry.