Do you remember the 2009 sci-fi cartoon “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”? Well maybe, in a not too remote future, catching our meals from the sky might just be another normal aspect of our daily food routine. Tech-licious Food & Tech Magazine explores the world of drone food delivery and makes a list of all the (comfort) foods that you can get delivered at your doorstep.
Flying food delivery is here. And if you think there’s something eerie about this, you’re not alone. Food delivery by drones is one of the last technological developments of our era and, as for all the innovations worth your salt, it is subject to conflicting opinions. While some would say this recent wave of drone delivery has brought some colour to the food industry, others would argue that yes, it’s a fun novelty, but that’s about as far as it goes.
Regardless of which way you want to see it, it is undeniable that drone delivery represents a breakthrough not only in the food industry but, more in general, in the way we think of food. While the use of commercial drones is a complicated and as of yet unsettled issue, signs of progress are being made by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to legalise the use of drones for commercial purposes across many US states. What started with tacos and burritos only a few years ago, has quickly escalated to chic Champagne bottles and a whole other range of junk and comfort foods.
Whether or not this new delivery system will gather momentum is still to be seen. In the meantime, here’s a list of some of the most popular foods you can already catch from the sky:
More and more pizzas will be falling from the sky in this 2017. Back in 2014, Francesco’s Pizzeria, an Italian restaurant in Mumbai, was among the firsts to experiment with pizza delivery by drone, to the delight of the entire city. This was just a timid first drone delivery attempt, and unfortunately fame didn’t last long: by early 2016, the famous Australian pizza chain Domino’s stole the scene by testing the Domicopter, Domino’s very own pizza delivery drone, on New Zealander soil.
The Domicopter, the world’s first commercial pizza delivery drone, was trialled in conjunction with Nevada-based tech firm and drone-maker Flirtey and it is supposed to be launched in 2017.
In 2011, Dustin Boyer, Star Simpson and Scott Torborg created the Tacocopter — a drone specifically thought for the delivery to tacos. Tacos, robots and aeroplanes were the lucky combinations that enabled people to get their favourite Mexican foods directly from the sky. Everybody thought it was too good to be true and, in fact, it struggled to get off the ground: the FAA and the US government, not sure of its legitimacy, have since been trying to limit its use.
Casa Madrona, a luxury California hotel in Sausalito, CA, has taken champagne delivery to a whole new level with bottle service by drone. Classy stuff? Judge it yourself.
Could Coca-Cola stay out of the games? Certainly, not. In 2014, the company arranged Coke can drone delivery for migrant construction workers in Singapore. With help from the non-profit organisation Singapore Kindness Movement, boxes of Coke cans and more than 2,700 photos of Singaporeans with handwritten thank-you signs fell from the sky – and made the workers a very happy bunch.
Google (yes, the search giant) recently began testing drone food deliveries using Chipotle burritos at Virginia Tech.
Before this episode, other experiments had been made by ariel Mexican food, testing the delivery of their products through Burrito Bomber (first airborne Mexican food delivery system) and making 2012 a year to remember.
Future of Food: will we catch our meals from the sky?
Food delivery by drones, despite still green as a tech area, seems to be already catching the attention of many major players in the food industry, interested in increasing revenues and improving their service.
Among others, German food delivery app Foodpanda expressed interest in utilising the advantages of drone delivery in the traffic-clogged cities it serves in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The speed of service is, indeed, one of the main hooks: drones can zoom above traffic-clogged streets and cut the 1-hour average waiting times of other food delivery companies.
Nevertheless, the lack of unanimous, cross-country regulations make it difficult for food operators to make the big jump to drone delivery: in the case of Foodpanda, for example, the company – despite having carried out some first trials in Singapore – is still stuck in test mode. Another challenge is that drones would need access to apartment buildings to get to most residents of big cities, a huge technological and regulatory hurdle.