Uber is looking to the skies for the future of its food delivery service, carrying out a test using drones to speed up the delivery of McDonald’s meals.
The company’s Uber Eats platform is working with the fast food restaurant in San Diego to see how drones could be used to improve deliveries in high-density urban areas, after it was granted permission by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to quick start tests.
Uber says that the project will not only decrease delivery times, but also expand the number of culinary choices available to customers.
The plan is to still include hand deliveries by an Uber Eats driver, who will meet the drone at a drop-off location and bring it to the customer’s door.
In the future, drones could be instructed to land atop of a parked vehicle located near each delivery location through QR code correspondence, the firm said.
“We’ve been working closely with the FAA to ensure that we’re meeting requirements and prioritising safety,” said Luke Fischer, head of flight operations at Uber Elevate, the company’s division focused on revolutionising operations in the skies.
“From there, our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button.
“We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we’re able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate.”
Additional restaurant partners will be added to the trial later this year, including local restaurant Juniper and Ivy.
The development comes after Uber announced that Melbourne would be its third city for testing helicopter-like flying taxis, which are due to set off with trials as soon as next year.
Uber Air plans to take passengers to the sky in a bid to ease congested roads on the ground, for the same price as an UberX trip over the same distance.
The firm is due to start test flights in 2020, before commencing a commercial operation from 2023.