Food Delivery Drones May Soon be Here

Foodpanda started testing food delivery drones a few months ago. If the trials go well, a Singapore-wide rollout of food delivery drones could happen in the coming years.


Singapore certainly loves drones. In October 2015, Singapore Post, the country’s national postage company, successfully tested drone delivery by carrying a T-shirt and a letter 2.3 kilometers.

Now, thanks to Foodpanda, the world’s largest online food delivery platform, Singapore can look forward to food being delivered by drones. Foodpanda started testing drone deliveries a few months ago, and CEO Ralf Wenzel says that if the trials go well, a Singapore-wide rollout of food delivery drones could happen in the coming years.

Wenzel also said Foodpanda plans to offer the drone delivery service throughout all 24 markets covered by Foodpanda, including Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and Malaysia.

Emma Heap, Foodpanda Singapore’s managing director, told CNBC the goal is to offer delivery time under 30 minutes. “We’re constantly looking at the most convenient and fastest experience for customers ordering food online. With our riders navigating traffic, there’s a limit as to how fast that can be.”

This isn’t the first time drones have been tested for delivery purposes, of course. Amazon has for some time been teasing online shopaholics with a glimpse of how its Prime Air drone delivery service could work. And Google says its delivery drones will be up and running in 2017. Alibaba used a drone to deliver tea in China, a pizza shop in Russia made a 30-minute delivery by drone, and a drone in South Africa dropped off beer to concertgoers.

We’ve also seen some pretty poor attempts at drone delivery. In a PR stunt to promote its new Norlin shoe line, Crocs attempted to use drones to deliver shoes in a pop-up store in Tokyo. However, the drones failed more often than not, even crashing into the crowd. Watch the video below.

And who could forget the restaurant owner who tried to deliver asparagus using a drone. Shortly after takeoff, however, the drone crashed and burned, reminding us all at the time that drone delivery isn’t yet ready for prime time.

 

Drone technology has come a long way in just one year, hopefully Foodpanda’s drone delivery service doesn’t crash and burn, too.



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