Imagine a world where we could place a pizza order online, and 5 minutes later it gets delivered by a drone straight to our front door. The truth is this might be a reality sooner than you think.
Dominos has partnered with Flirtey’s drone delivery service and they have already succeeded in delivering the world’s first “drone delivery pizza” to a couple in New Zealand. So yes, drones can deliver pizza. They’re doing it right now, and it’s just a matter of time before drones replace pizza delivery drivers altogether.
Yes true, dominos is already extremely fast at delivering pizza, but they are pushing the envelope to become even faster. And the only way for them to make that happen—without getting their delivery drivers speeding tickets—is to have a flock of drones take over the job.
How Long Until “Drone Pizza Delivery” Becomes Common?
Well right now at the Whangaparaoa store in New Zealand, you could order a pizza from Dominos that gets sent to you by a drone. So the answer, in short, is right now!
However, they still have a long way to go. The delivery radius is pretty small and you have to live within a 1 mile of the dominos store. But the company is actively trying to expand that radius to up to 6 miles.
On top of that, Dominos has already pushed trials to six other countries World-Wide. Belgium, Australia, Germany, Japan, France, and the Netherlands. So they’re definitely not wasting any time in getting this into as many Dominos stores world-wide. Who knows, maybe they’ll have it in a store near you soon.
How Does The Dominos Pizza Delivery Work
I’ll be honest, I’ve never tried it myself but based on what I read online, it looks very easy.
Here are the steps described online: (that seem extremely simple)
- The customer opts into an online service and orders their pizza through the dominos app.
- The pizza is then packed into a normal dominos box, then the pizza box is loaded into a sturdier box that attaches to the bottom of a drone.
- The drone then takes off and heads over to the customer’s home.
- Then, the drone hovers over the backyard of the home and lowers the pizza with a cable.
- The drone then returns home back to the dominos store, to pick up its next delivery.
Seems crazy huh? But what if you had no back yard? How would you get your pizza then? This is a challenge that both Domino’s and Flirtey’s are currently working on right now.
The majority of the world’s population live in tiny apartments or estates that have no yard. So for the company to be able to successfully expand into other areas, it’s a challenge that they will have to figure out SOON.
Amazon Delivering With Drones Yet?
We’re all waiting on this one! I personally can’t wait for this. In a world where instant gratification means the difference between a successful company and a company that falls into bankruptcy, having drones deliver packages is essential. And we already know Amazon has latched onto this technology with both hands in order to decrease delivery time.
Amazon has even released a new prime package called “Amazon Air Prime.” This is a service that promises to offer drone-delivered packages in 30min or less!
So when will Amazon be ready to start dropping off your orders in your back yard within 30min? Last year they announced that drones will be used to begin delivering packages to customers within months. And they kept to their promises.
Amazon has been actively testing its drone delivery service in the Cambridge area of England. And on the 7th of December 2019, Amazon completed its first drone delivery to Richard B.
How does Amazon’s drone delivery work?
- First, the customer chooses and orders the product on Amazon.com. Only packages that weigh up to 5 pounds will be accepted.
- A special type of fulfillment center that contains amazon prime air drone technology loads a drone with your package.
- The loaded drone automatically makes its way down a track into a field.
- The drone then takes off and makes it’s way to your home quietly below 400 feet.
This process happens automatically. So from taking off, to delivering the package and returning back to Amazon, no human needs to pilot the drone.
Sounds exciting right? Don’t get too excited, they will more than likely test out a few locations in the same way dominos started testing. And once successful, they will begin rolling out this service to more customers. This could take years.
Are Drones Being Used For Other Deliveries?
Drones are being looked into by a lot of different industries right now to increase efficiency and cut costs. Some of the biggest industries looking to take advantage of this new technology are:
- Medical supplies
- Food and obviously
- Delivery companies.
Any industry that needs to satisfy a customer’s urge for instant gratification will no doubt be trying to use drone technology to gain the upper hand against its competitors. That being said, there are literally hundreds of companies actively trying to benefit from this technology.
Some of the more popular companies trying to gain a competitive edge with drones are:
- Uber Eats
- Alibaba group
Drone Deliveries That Are Happening Right Now
Unsurprisingly drones are also being actively used around the world for medical purposes, especially to help third world countries better distribute medical supplies.
For example, in Gana and Rwanda, Zipline is currently actively delivering medical supplies, blood, rabies vaccines, and even antivenom to difficult to reach clinics. They have successfully reached more than 22 million people to date.
This makes Zipline the largest autonomous medical drone-delivery service in the world.
Why Are Companies Pushing For Drone Delivery Technology?
Most of the time it’s about increasing profit margins, not to be greedy, but to remain competitive. This is especially the case when it comes to businesses that rely on a lot of manpower.
Here’s why a business might want to replace man-power with drones:
- It’s safer. Automated machines tend to make fewer mistakes than humans. Especially when it comes to delivery services. Keeping delivery drivers safe at scale, for example, is actually a big problem. Imagine having hundreds of thousands of delivery drivers on the road every single day? It’s an accident waiting to happen. And it’s a problem that can be eliminated with drones.
- Easier to manage. A business that has hundreds of employees can be more difficult to manage. Human beings are more dynamic and complex compared to machinery.
- Cheaper labor. This one always gets a bit of negative attention, however its the truth. Machines will always be cheaper than manpower. An employee would get a monthly wage, however, build a drone once and it will work for free for a lifetime. Yes, you’ll still have to pay maintenance costs, but these costs wouldn’t come close to a full-time salary.
INTERESTING POINT: According to Domino’s global CEO Don Meij, that he wanted this research to replace delivery methods such as cars and bikes that he deemed unsafe. But he also said that pizza delivery drivers will still be around for a long time.
Challenges that drone delivery services need to overcome
While you were reading this article you were probably thinking of a TON of different challenges that drone delivery services will probably need to overcome before they can be successful.
So I decided to dedicate this section of the article to try and expand on some of these challenges.
Here are some of the top challenges that drone delivery companies need to solve before “drone delivery” can become the new norm:
- The drone needs to see better. This is probably the biggest issue. For companies to be able to use automated drones more commonly, they need better detection software so that they can avoid birds, trees or other flying things.
- Too many drone laws. Every country, county, and even city have their own drone laws. This means that a business would need to change its procedures for every-single-location, which can quickly become an admin nightmare.
- Weather. Imagine ordering a pizza during a thunderstorm? Will the drone decide to stay or go? Will gusts of wind blow it in a tree? Maybe you would have to hours for the storm to pass? Who knows how they will overcome these issues. Weather will always be an issue when it comes to flying aircraft, even drones.
- Air traffic can get out of control. Air collision accidents are already happening. Imagine if we have a million more unmanned drones flying over our heads. This would be extremely difficult to control.