Restaurant tech company Dragontail Systems announced today that it has joined up with Pizza Hut for pizza delivery by drone in Israel.
To make this type of airborne delivery happen, Dragontail is integrating drones into its Algo Dispatching System, which uses AI to manage food preparation and delivery workflow. The delivery drones won’t be dropping pizzas off at people’s front doors, however. Rather, they will fly pizzas to remote designated landing zones where delivery drivers will pick them up for last mile of the delivery.
This remote drop-off hub approach is gaining traction with delivery companies around the world. IFood is using this model in Brazil, and here in the U.S., Uber is taking this approach with its drone delivery program.
There are actually good reasons to use this multi-step approach when delivering by drone. First, it simplifies the regulatory issues around flying commercial delivery drones because it reduces the number of flight paths that need to be created and cleared with appropriate government entities. Second, even if there is a last mile that needs to be driven, a drone still zooms overhead bypassing a lot of ground traffic on its way to customers for a speedy delivery. Finally, a remote hubg can keep delivery drivers closer to the delivery neighborhoods, rather than having them go back and forth to a restaurant.
Regardless of approach, the drone food delivery space is heating up. Walmart is using Flytrex for a groceries-by-drone delivery pilot in North Carolina. Rouses Market is testing deliveries in Alabama. In Ireland, Manna is making deliveries in around Dublin. And Google’s Wing has been making drone deliveries in Australia.
Drone delivery could become a much more viable option for restaurants and other food retailers here in the U.S., as the Federal Aviation Administration released its final safety and nighttime flying rules for commercial drone operators at the end of last year.