How Flying Drones Are Transforming the Delivery Industry
The moped driver carrying a back-pack crammed with your favorite stuffed-crust pizza may be a familiar sight in most towns and cities, but it could soon become a thing of the past. The volcanic island of Iceland is the first country in the world to deliver hot food from restaurant to customer almost entirely by drone.
Food business, AHA, in Iceland’s trendy capital city, Reykjavik, are trialing a drone delivery service, providing burgers, sushi and even beer to hungry city residents. Working together with Israeli drone logistics company, Flytrex, AHA have created a service that speeds up the delivery process so that the customer’s food arrives hot and ready to be transferred straight to the plate – not to the microwave.
The trial drone service is currently available for just one particular route and won’t be a complete door-to-door service. The route would normally take a delivery driver 25 minutes to get from restaurant to customer, so the flying drones should significantly reduce waiting time for hungry foodies. Drone delivery will shave a good 21 minutes off that journey.
The food package needs to be less than six pounds in weight (around 2.7kg) and costs around 80c per mile, so it’s certainly not cheap and it’s questionable whether that volume of food is going to feed a big party, but it’s certainly a good start.
A delivery person loads the drone with the food package at the restaurant and sends the drone off to a pick-up point, where another delivery person collects the package and delivers directly to the door. The trial route follows a winding road that normally takes over 20 minutes to navigate, so the delivery drone trial is reducing the journey from 25 minutes down to 4.
AHA are hoping to develop the service, after the trial, to extend to door-to-door deliveries. This could mean that your food package is lowered down to your door from a wire in the sky. Currently, the flying drones are capable of journeys of just 6 miles at a time but as battery life improves we’ll find that this will increase considerably.
AHA aren’t the only company monopolizing on the huge commercial potential of flying drones in the delivery business. Home-delivery giant, Amazon, is in the process of developing Amazon Prime Air – their very own super-fast drone-driven delivery system. Their aim is to get products ordered from their website, out from the distribution center and onto your doorstep within 30 minutes!
The trial started in December 2016 in Cambridge, UK, using completely autonomous drones. The drone uses GPS to guide it, at a height of 400ft and carrying packages of up to 5 pounds. The drone lands in your yard and leaves the package on the ground for you to go out and pick up, so there’s no physical interaction with the machine at all.