Zomato Testing the Grounds for Drone Based Delivery of Food Packages

EDIT : Since the time of writing this article, the Zomato blog article has been taken down for some reason, and even the TechEagle site reads “Work in Progress”. Maybe the news leaked out a bit too early for comfort.

Your favorite restaurant aggregator just got a whole new outlook! Yeah, that’s cool to hear, but what exactly is the change all about? Well, till date, you have pressed a few buttons on your smartphone, received alerts about your food package, and then picked it up from a delivery boy. Now, your food gets delivered directly to your home without having to move a finger. Zomato has been putting in quite some research for developing (and perfecting) drones for delivering packages for quite some time.

Here is what exactly happened?

In the official press release, Zomato says that while their delivery boys have an average delivery time of 30.5 mins, which is the fastest in the industry, taking the aerial route allows them to reduce delivery time to almost half (with an expected delivery time of 15 mins). Aerial deliveries also allow them to reach long distances (say from Chandni Chowk to Gurgaon) at a reasonable delivery time of 30 mins, which is not possible through roads.

TechEagle is the one developing these drones for long deliveries. Now acquired by Zomato, TechEagle’s first prototype boasts of covering a distance of 5 km in about 10 mins with a payload of 5 kg, which is an enormous feat.

Possible Issues

There are some concerns rising out of the use of drones for delivery, though. There’s always the worry that drones will actually replace human delivery boys – a lot of them. Zomato has a big workforce of delivery boys some of who depend on the deliveries as their only source of income. There are also a lot of legal hurdles introduced with the new rulings that allow the legal possession and usage of drones. Zomato does address the legal hurdles, saying that “the government’s concerns need to be looked at from valid points of view. ” However, about the unemployment problem, they remain strangely silent.

For the uninitiated, a drone takes off vertically like a helicopter, then transits to an airplane mode to cover the distance and switches back to helicopter mode for vertical landing without requiring any airstrip.

Food deliveries by drones are no longer just a pipe dream, but a reality to embrace in the months to come.

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