Drone Food Delivery May Hit the US Soon
It has been a long, hard road to get here, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has drug its collective feet like a three year old throwing a tantrum in a toy store over the issue of drone delivery. Yet now, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel, and the light is a delivery drone carrying tasty food from many nearby cities to our front door. The FAA’s pilot program for drone delivery is about to take flight in North Carolina thanks to a deal between it and Flytrex, an Israeli drone delivery operation.
The program in question, the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program, allows governments to connect to firms and establish drone delivery services. A similar program has already been staged in the Ukraine involving the delivery of pharmaceuticals in Africa.
Flytrex’s co-founder and vice president of product Amit Regev noted that drone delivery has a lot of strengths, most notably, in the suburbs. While many drones are focusing on urban operations for the high population density, the more suburban drones have some real advantages. That’s why Flytrex is working with the North Carolina government to target a suburban neighborhood in the state. Additionally, Flytrex considers food and small consumer goods the perfect test items because of their low weight and high demand.
Naturally, this is a platform tailor-made for mobile payments, as the food in question needs to be paid for somehow. But by placing an order ahead through a mobile device—something already done routinely anyway at a wide range of locations—and paying therein, the end result is only a minor modification from normal operations. The problem has been the extreme regulations surrounding drone delivery; for a while, it was actually a requirement that drone delivery take place within the operator’s line of sight, which is why you were seeing things like a 7-Eleven that made deliveries in a two-block radius or the like.
For those who live out in the countryside and don’t relish an hour’s drive round-trip to enjoy even a simple meal at Olive Garden, drone delivery is the ultimate cure. Hopefully pilot programs like these will finally demonstrate drones’ safety to the regulators’ satisfaction and finally get us all access to food delivered by drone aircraft.