To traverse routes that are densely populated, food delivery service Zomato is taking to the skies: The company says it has made a successful test of delivery by hybrid drone. The drone covered 3.1 miles in under 10 minutes and had an 11-pound payload, while the company seeks to someday make deliveries within 15 minutes, according to reports.
“Fifteen minutes is only possible if we take the aerial route – roads are not efficient for very fast delivery,” Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal said, according to reports. “While our biker fleet nowadays delivers in 30.5 minutes on an average (which is the fastest in the industry as far as we know), every incremental minute with our fleet becomes harder as it separates our users from their ordered food.”
The delivery company acquired TechEagle, a local drone company, in 2018. Goyal reportedly said the firm has finalized its drone design, which has many sensors to detect and avoid dynamic and static objects along its travels.
The news comes as Uber is preparing to experiment with drones for Uber Eats to deliver prepared meals in dense urban environments. The firm finished the first stage of testing in conjunction with McDonald’s at San Diego State University.
Uber Elevate Head of Flight Operations Luke Fischer said, per reports, “We’ve been working closely with the FAA to ensure that we’re meeting requirements and prioritizing safety.” Fischer continued, “From there, our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button.”
For the logistics of the Uber system, restaurants will make the food before putting it onto a drone that will fly to a drop-off location that is set ahead of time. Uber’s Elevate Cloud Systems will monitor and guide the drone, in addition to telling a delivery driver where and when to make a meal pickup.