Some of the greatest minds in the world are working on a new challenge – delivering you your burrito by drone.
Chipotle and Alphabet’s Project Wing are working together to test how burritos can be delivered by drone. A pilot programme is now running on the Virginia Tech campus, delivering burritos to hungry college students who need fast-food delivery, asap. Hot news indeed.
The drones operate from a delivery truck, where the food is prepared, before it is sent out for delivery (while flying autonomously) and lowered on a winch on arrival. It’s hoped that the drones will be able to clock up speeds of 60 mph, to deliver items in a 5 mile radius within 5 minutes.
“We want to learn how people feel when they’re receiving a package by air, and taking someone’s time and/or money changes things more than a little. And we want to feel the pressure of unexpected circumstances that show us how we can get better at loading and managing a fleet of planes,” Astro Teller, X’s Captain of Moonshots, told USA Today.
Virgina Tech is one of six FAA-approved testing sites across the US. While it might be an apparently frivolous use of the technology, the stakes are high for Alphabet, Google’s umbrella parent company. Amazon is already testing autonomous flight to rapidly deliver packages across urban areas, but hasn’t succeeded in getting permission to test in the US. Via their cloud technology and by bringing third-party dispatch and delivery into their fulfillment centres, Amazon has quietly developed enormously powerful B2B services. If they are first-to-market with autonomous drone delivery technology they will have accordingly huge opportunities to license the technology to other parties. Google/Alphabet, meanwhile, is in a similar race to deliver self-driving cars, now competing with Uber, Tesla and, potentially, Apple, among others.
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