Uber Eats is preparing to begin testing drone delivery in dense urban areas.
The launch of the new project became known after the US Federal Aviation Administration approved tests of commercial food delivery using drones in San Diego, California. Uber Eats announced plans to test the new service shortly after it became known about the impending launch of Amazon's drone delivery program.
The initial testing phase of the new service was completed at the University of San Diego in partnership with McDonald's. Later, Uber announced that they plan to include other partners in the restaurant business in the delivery.
Uber does not use drones for full delivery, they only complete the main part of the route. As soon as the customer orders food, the restaurant starts preparing the order and then packs it into a drone. The device takes off, flies and lands at a predetermined location. Boarding is expected to take place in parked courier vehicles, which will be located near the final delivery address. At the same time, Elevate Cloud Systems allows Uber to track and control the drone, as well as notify the Eats driver to pick up the order. The driver then completes a part of the route called the "last mile", delivering the order to the customer's hands.
“Our goal is to expand Uber Eats’ drone delivery so we can deliver more experiences to more people at the push of a button. We believe Uber is uniquely positioned to address this challenge as we can leverage Uber Eats' network of restaurant and delivery partners, as well as Uber Elevate's aviation expertise and technology,” said Luke Fisher, Uber Elevate Chief Flight Officer.
Uber focuses on delivering ready-made food by drones in dense urban areas, but the company understands that it is impossible to “throw” an order with food at the doorstep or into the customer’s yard. Therefore, Uber uses all available resources and a fleet of food delivery partners.
“We don’t need to deliver [food] by drone directly to our customers or consumers,” Fisher says. We just have to get close enough."
Ultimately, drone delivery means for Uber Eats to attract more customers through increased speed of service. Eats remains a very important and fastest growing part of Uber's business. In the first quarter of 2019, the service reported an increase in sales for 108%, up to $3 billion.