Autonomous food delivery by drone: What’s available?

Article originally published on GearBrain:

Food technology no longer starts and ends with the appliances in your kitchen and the touch screen on your smart fridge. More than ever, there is a focus on the technology that brings food to your door.

This could be a drone dropping a Domino’s pizza into the garden, an autonomous van pulling up outside with fresh fruit and vegetables, and a six-wheeled robot couriering lunch across a college campus.

Startups and tech titans alike are working on the technology, while food retailers and supermarkets are keen to trial their products in a bid to offer their customers something new — and, of course, cut their delivery times and wage bills.

One of the first food-by-drone services began in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2017 and is operated by e-commerce firm Aha and Israeli drone startup Flytrex. After a year of testing, the company made its first commercial delivery in August 2018, and has now completed over 1,000 successful flights.

Autonomous Drone Delivery North Carolina

Causey Aviation Unmanned and Flytrex – Holly Springs, North Carolina

Flytrex has also partnered with Causey Aviation Unmanned to begin testing an autonomous food-by-drone delivery service in Holly Springs, North Carolina later in 2019. Few details have been given for now, but it is likely that the service will work in a similar way to Aha’s in Iceland.

What Flytrex says sets its technology apart from its rivals is InAir, the name of its package drop-off system. Instead of landing, releasing a package and taking off again, the Flytrex drone hovers over the drop zone, then lowers the package on a wire, before gathering up the wire and flying away.

This should mean less noise, as the powerful drone rotors stay well above the ground. This way, the drone doesn’t need to find a suitable place to land in the customer’s garden or at the roadside, where it could potentially hit something, or be interfered with after hitting the ground.

Amazon, Alphabet, and Uber are all Getting in The Drone Delivery Game

Retail giant Amazon has been working on delivery drones since at least 2013, and completed its first commercial delivery (albeit as part of a test) in 2016.

Uber said in June 2019 it plans to start delivering food by drone this summer, kicking off with a trial in San Diego with McDonalds. The service will see customers pay a similar delivery fee to that of UberEats, and their food will be flown from the restaurant, potentially speeding up the process.

The drone division of Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google began trial service in Australia in April 2019, delivering takeaway food, coffee and medicines to 100 homes in Canberra.

For more on autonomous drone delivery and what’s available: Read the entire article on GearBrain