The year 2023 turns out to be the year of drone deliveries. Several startups have been working hard to test, learn and improve their ability to deploy a network of drones for efficient deployment.
Immediate gratification in procuring a last-minute item, prescription drugs, and fast food in record time are some of the focuses expected to drive initial demand.
Grocery delivery has grown tremendously in popularity, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many different apps available to get your meals and snacks delivered right to your door like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, Seamless, and Caviar, many people (including me) have chosen convenience.
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Drones can deliver in minutes
However, the way our groceries are delivered may change as more businesses try drone delivery as a means of delivering to customers instantly. Each company attempts drone delivery in different ways. A more recent concept that has come to reality is Zipline’s latest delivery drone called Platform 2. Zipline has refined the concept of delivery and is now producing a turnkey solution that is one of the smartest approaches to the expected explosion in demand.
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The latest drone delivery makes it almost invisible to the ears
The Platform 2 looks like it should have a cozy name with the design of the drop vehicle being lowered from the hovering main drone from 300 feet. The onboard propellers stabilize the case in all sorts of challenging weather conditions. I watched a demo of platform 2 placing an item on a backyard table almost silently. Other delivery drones are not so quiet.
Noise is a major challenge, along with the chaos of drone traffic that will hum over our homes for the next year and beyond. While Zipline invented a smart, quiet delivery method, not many others have achieved such a smooth delivery.
Local laws range from extreme restrictions to everything that’s allowed, and the FAA has taken steps to regulate how and when drones fly. There is so much more to be figured out and agreed upon, including how to deal with traffic in the sky at altitudes of 400 feet or less. It’s up to municipalities to work with drone companies to find standards quickly, before drones litter the skies and become more of a nuisance than a huge asset.
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Which companies are using drones for food delivery?
Quite a few companies have started testing drone deliveries in recent months. Most recently, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Walmart have partnered with Israeli automated drone delivery start-up Flytrex to test its drone delivery system through app purchases.
At the time of publication, the company was only shipping to select locations throughout North Carolina. One woman even posted a viral video showing a Starbucks order being delivered by drone. You can watch the video about them Instagram page.
Other companies across the country use similar systems. El Pollo Loco is testing its Air Loco drone delivery system in California.
Flirtey is a drone delivery company that has worked with several restaurants, including Pizza Hut and Domino’s.
Wing, a drone company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has also partnered with several restaurants, including Chick-Fil-A. Uber Eats has been testing drone deliveries at various locations since 2019.
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What does this mean for the future of grocery delivery?
Considering that more and more companies seem to be jumping on the drone trend, things are not looking good for food delivery workers. It’s an easy way for businesses to save more money because they no longer have to pay employees to deliver for them.
More and more companies are even using AI technology in their restaurants, especially in fast food chains. With self-service machines to take your order, delivery apps, and now delivery drones, it’s almost as if these chains are trying to get rid of human workers.
Is delivery by drone the better option?
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I can imagine an advantage in drone delivery. It will probably cut the delivery time in half. It takes so long for your Uber Eats order to get to your doorstep because delivery drivers usually face traffic or congestion, especially during meal times. The drone delivery would help this problem immensely.
However, this certainly has many disadvantages. Aside from putting people out of work, drones are guaranteed to make any neighborhood that much louder. And if several are flying around at once, a convenience can quickly become an annoyance. There is also always a chance that a drone will malfunction and crash, which could pose a serious safety hazard.
I suppose that’s why a lot of these companies are taking the time to test these delivery drones before implementing them permanently, so we’ll have to see where this all goes.
Would you prefer drones to deliver your food over humans? let us know what you think
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