Valqari’s makes the Drone Delivery Station, which is kind of like an automat for drone-delivered food drop-offs. The Station has a series of locked cubbies, on top of which a drone carrying the food either lands or lowers a tethered package. Once dropped off, the Station’s elevator system lowers the food and places it into a secured cubby. A delivery driver (or even a customer) then receives a notification that the food has arrived and they can unlock the designated cubby to carry the order over the last mile to its final destination.
This news comes a little more than a month after Tel Aviv-based Dragontail, which uses AI to track restaurant order management and fulfillment, announced that it had partnered with Pizza Hut in Israel to do drone delivery of pizzas. Dragontail did not specify where Valqari’s systems would be implemented. (UPDATE: Dragontail said that it will be deployed in the U.S.)
Dragontail’s plan is to do a hub-and-spoke model of drone delivery, meaning that instead of flying directly to people’s houses, the drones will fly from a restaurant to a designated drop-off area. This simplified, narrow approach will help minimize regulatory issues that come with flying drones. Because there will be limited flight paths to and from two fixed points, instead of drones flying deep into residential areas, there isn’t as much government approval needed.
Partnering with Valqari also gives Dragontail the means to safely drop off deliveries without needing a human driver to get near the drone. The locker can also keep food secured should a driver be late for food pickup.
While regulatory issues around drone delivery are being clarified (at least here in the U.S.), and a number of players like Flytrex and Deuce Drone are starting to make deliveries domestically, there is still a long way to go before it can become mainstream.
In the meantime, however, it’s easy to see how a halo of logistical services around drones like that of Valqari’s will rise up to make it easier for drone delivery to come to market.