Imagine being able to order a pizza from an app on your phone and having it delivered straight to your home – by drone? Most of us have had a pizza delivered from a restaurant by car or scooter, but when you want to bypass the traffic and get that pizza hot and fresh, there would be no quicker way than taking to the air with a drone delivery.
You might be surprised to hear that this scenario is not science fiction: Domino’s Pizza in New Zealand are already beginning testing of exactly such a service. As antipodean aviation rules are being relaxed, they expect to launch the service = commercially later this year. There are plans for further drone delivery trials for pizza lovers in Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany.
Get it while it’s hot by drone delivery… Or cold
Across the Pacific in the United States, the retail chain 7-eleven have been running their own drone delivery pilot. They made their first delivery this year, proudly boasting on Twitter that the lucky recipient ordered doughnuts, coffee, a chicken sandwich, some candy… and a Slurpee frozen drink. Not to be left behind, Amazon have also announced plans for drone delivery, which they hope will make their Prime delivery service even more efficient.
Of course there are risks to consider with drone delivery: drones are at risk of hitting power lines, moving vehicles or children playing in gardens. Drones also need a suitable landing area at their destination so they might always struggle to make a delivery to a block of flats! Although public opinion may be affected by concerns over privacy when drones fly over their homes, and a few isolated accidents, including a drone hitting a skier at a sporting event, the zeitgeist is changing. Uber’s recent announcement of a driverless car trial in America signals a thawing of opposition to the idea of automation. As a result, the days of delivering a 2kg order in a two-tonne vehicle are drawing to a close, according to a Dominos spokesperson.
The future of drone delivery
Businesses always find a way to exploit the onward march of technology. The future for drones looks positive, as they move from a hobbyist pursuit into new niches outside of photography and film-making. When it comes down to it, increased consumer choice usually results in improvements to service. When the novelty value fades, if drone delivery works out cheaper and more environmentally friendly than delivery by road it is sure to take off.