Someday very soon, your Chinese takeout or pizza may be dropped at your doorstep by a drone. CNBC reports that food delivery app Foodpanda is testing out drone delivery technology in Singapore. The push towards using unmanned aircraft to feed customers is part of an effort by Foodpanda to improve delivery times and outpace its growing competitor, Deliveroo.
Foodpanda has already cut delivery times from an average of 60-70 minutes down to 30 minutes in Hong Kong, and hopes to drop that number even more. "As our deliveries get faster, we notice customers increase their order frequency to multiple orders per week. We hope that by using drones to reduce delivery time, we will further grow our business," says Emma Heap, managing director of Foodpanda in Singapore. Deliveroo currently has no plans to roll out drone delivery.
According to Forbes, the delivery giant plans to eventually expand drone delivery to all of its 24 markets including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, and Thailand. "The technical solutions [of drone delivery] will be available over the next months," says Foodpanda CEO Ralf Wenzel.
Although generally employed as a stunt by companies like TGI Fridays, Southern Comfort, and Singapore-based chain Timbre, food innovators are finding new, practical uses for drone technology. In January, Google executive Dave Vos imagined a world in which customers could have beer delivered on-demand by drone, speculating that it could be a reality as soon as 2017. A North Carolina-based company PrecisionHawk is also using a combination of drone and ground sensor technology to improve water use on vineyards in drought-stricken California wine country.