Uber Drone Delivery Begins Testing This Summer

Your next takeout order could be delivered by drone in just a few months. Uber is performing drone delivery test trials in San Diego this summer, pending approval from the FAA.

The drone will not deliver food to customers’ doors during these preliminary trials. Instead, the drone will arrive at a designated safe landing zone where an Uber courier will retrieve your order and complete the delivery. Uber Elevate, the team handling drone delivery, intends to use this method to reduce the chance of noise pollution, collisions, devices and packages falling midair, and other safety concerns. Delivery boxes are crafted with carefully selected packaging materials that keep food warm throughout the trip.

Uber appears confident that the technology will become the new norm. According to data from previous company tests with McDonald’s, drones are three times as fast as other modes of transportation. Drones can travel 1.5 miles in seven minutes. With a driver or cyclist, such a trip takes about 21 minutes on average.

According to Eric Allison, Uber’s head of aerial projects, the company has invested in this technology in large part because of the growing popularity of Uber Eats. Allison believes drone delivery will give Uber Eats the edge over its competition, with “selection, quality, and efficiency” drastically improving thanks to the advent of drones. Uber analysts predict that within the next ten years, fast food restaurants will have completely remodeled their kitchens to better suit the needs of drone delivery.

Not far behind, Google has already been performing drone deliveries in Finland and Australia through its offshoot Project Wing. FedEx is developing a food delivery robot, and intends to partner with Pizza Hut, Walmart, and Walgreens in the endeavor.

Ever looking forward, Uber Elevate is also in the process of designing flying taxi technology. Test flights are tentatively planned for 2020 with an anticipated commercial launch in 2023.

Research by:

Paul Barron

Paul Barron

Editor-in-Chief/Executive Producer


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UberEATS Aims to Use Drones for Food Delivery by 2021

UberEats App

The food delivery app UberEATS isn't only investing in self-driving cars but has aggressive plans to start delivering food via drone as early as 2021.

According to a recent report from the “Wall Street Journal,” Uber posted a job ad looking for personnel for “flight standards and training” in San Francisco.

As outlined in the job listing, the tech giant is looking for individuals to develop “standards, procedures, and training while reducing operational risk for all UberExpress flight operations” and will be in charge of enabling “safe, legal, efficient, and scalable flight operations to deliver flights in 2019 and commercial operations in multiple markets by 2021.”

Since the "WSJ" reported on the listing, Uber has removed the listing and said that the job posting “does not fully reflect our program, which is still in its very early days.”

Although the parent company of the food delivery app Uber was quick to remove the job posting after a media frenzy erupted, the tech company's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi previously announced in May that Uber plans to implement drone technology.

However, as other companies like Amazon have realized, there are several regulatory hurdles from the Federal Aviation Administration that have to be addressed first.

It’s not surprising that Uber is looking into drones for delivery. This would cut down significantly on labor cuts.

UberEATS has quickly become one of the leading food delivery apps on the market. The user-friendly app offers valuable information like the price range indicated by a certain number of dollar signs ($,) the type of cuisine, and the estimated delivery time.

Compared to the app's competitors like DoorDash and Postmates, UberEATS has partnered with restaurants to offer by far some of the fastest delivery times.

Learn more about how UberEATS is aiming to implement drone delivery by 2021 at "Digital Trends" now.

But as UberEATS becomes a more popular platform, the more money the company has started charging operators to use it. Learn more in the video below.