Technology continues to make the delivery process more convenient for consumers. Uber Eats is looking to be on the forefront of delivery technology with drone deliveries.
The company announced at its Uber Elevate Conference that it has launched a food delivery pilot program in San Diego. During this trial period, drones will transfer the food from the restaurant to the driver. So, while drivers will still be physically handing over the food to customers, the drones will assist in cutting down the time it takes for drivers going to and from restaurants.
The process will involve the restaurant loading the meal onto an Uber Eats drone, which will fly to a single location for the driver to pick up and then travel a short distance to the customer. The company also plans to land drones on the roofs of Uber Eats cars featuring identifying QR codes.
Last year, the Federal Aviation Commission selected San Diego as one of ten U.S. cities to test commercial drone delivery. Uber is working with McDonald’s as an early partner for the program.
“You go into any restaurant, and there’s seven people waiting to pick up food to drive it to somebody’s house,” says Stanley Maloy, Associate VP, Research & Innovation at San Diego State University, who was involved with the project. “But if you could make it more convenient with drones that got there even faster, that’s a phenomenal improvement.”
Uber Eats plans to expand the test program to other partners later this year, including San Diego’s award-winning fine dining restaurant Juniper and Ivy.