In the future, when I have an ice cream craving, I won’t need to put on pants to walk across the street for a pint — I’ll just open the window and a drone will be waiting for me with some frozen treats.
This scenario is likely years away, but Unilever took a step toward that vision with a successful drone delivery test of Ben and Jerry’s, according to a press release issued this week. The company, partnering with Terra Drone Europe, demoed the drone delivery of three Ben & Jerry’s mini cups to a predetermined destination inside Unilever’s U.S. headquarters during its annual investor event.
The demo was part of Unilever’s Ice Cream Now service, which launched in 2017. The program uses apps such as UberEats to deliver sweet treats to customers using gas station and convenience store freezers as distribution points. There are at least 900 pickup points across the U.S., The Tampa Bay Times reports. The location and timeline of any commercial ice cream drone delivery roll out has not been determined yet, a spokesperson for Terra Drone told The Spoon.
“With regulations around future drone flights expected to become more flexible, the consumer goods company is preparing for a drone logistics service that will deliver products to more customers faster,” according to the press release.
The race is on to develop delivery drones. Uber unveiled its delivery drone last year and plans to test it this summer in San Diego. Amazon has been at work at its own drone program and patented tech that would charge drones in mid-air. Israeli tech company Flytrix has conducted drone deliveries in Reykjavik, Iceland, as well as a North Dakota golf course.
The big hurdle for drones isn’t so much the technology, but regulation, and if that’s ever cleared, a pint of non-dairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough will be flying my way.