Uber says its food delivery drone service could launch by 2021
Uber claims its food delivery drone service will be up and running in ‘multiple markets’ by 2021
- Uber is hoping to launch its drone delivery service in multiple markets by 2021
- Plan is described in a since-deleted job listing on its site for a ‘drone executive’
- However, the ride-hailing firm says the food delivery drones are still in early days
Uber’s dream of delivering food via drones may no longer be just pie in the sky.
The ride-hailing giant is eyeing the launch of its drone delivery service in multiple markets as soon as 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported.
This plan is described in a since-deleted job listing on Uber’s website, where it appears to be looking for a drone executive to ‘enable safe, legal, efficient and scalable flight operations.’
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Uber’s dream of delivering food via drones may no longer be just pie in the sky. The ride-hailing giant is eyeing the launch of its drone delivery service in multiple markets as soon as 2021
The drone executive would be tasked with making Uber’s delivery drones functional by 2019 and, ultimately, commercially operational by 2021.
The listing also makes a reference to UberExpress, which is believed to be the codename for Uber’s drone delivery service.
UberExpress would be a part of UberEats, the firm’s food delivery business.
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The listing has since been removed from Uber’s website, with a spokesperson telling the Journal it ‘does not fully reflect our program, which is still in the very early days.’
Uber has talked about creating a drone delivery service for many months.
In May, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the firm was developing drones that can deliver food to customers’ doorsteps in as little as five minutes.
Uber has talked about creating a drone delivery service for many months. In May, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (pictured) said the firm was developing drones that could deliver food
‘Uber can’t just be about cars,’ Khosrowshahi said in May. ‘It has to be about mobility.
‘It’s my personal belief that a key to solving urban mobility is flying burgers, in any city. We need flying burgers.’
Silicon Valley giants like Uber and Amazon have steadily increased their efforts to make drone delivery services commercially operational.
But the moves have been delayed by regulatory hurdles as US officials remain cautious.
Regulatory concepts for commercial drone operation aren’t expected to be revealed until early 2019, according to the Journal.
Uber is taking part in a commercial drone testing program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation – a program that notably left out Amazon as a participant.
Tech giants like Uber and Amazon have steadily increased their efforts to make drone delivery services commercially operational. But the moves have been slowed by regulatory hurdles
As part of the testing program, Khosrowshahi said the firm is trialing its food delivery drones.
He envisions that people will be able to ‘push a button and get food on your doorstep,’ according to Bloomberg.
Uber’s flying vehicle concepts aren’t limited to drones.
Earlier this year, the firm unveiled its Uber Air design models, which include an electric flying taxi that can fit up to four riders per vehicle.
Uber plans to launch the air-taxi service in 2020, with its self-flying craft to follow in the next five to 10 years.
WHAT IS UBER AIR AND HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
UberAir is a network of small, electric, aircraft that enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated areas. Artist’s impression shown
UberAir is a network of small, electric, aircraft that enable four-person ridesharing flights in densely populated areas.
The ‘electrical vertical take-off and landing vehicles’ (eVTOLs) differ from helicopters in that they are quieter, safer, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly, Uber claims.
Users will order the aircraft through the Uber app much like they would one of the firm’s taxis.
Once they have selected an UberAIR ride, the craft will fly to the nearest ‘Skyport’ – a series of launch pads spread across the city.
Uber estimates that an all-electric, 200mph (320kph) ride across the skies of Los Angeles will be price-competitive with an UberX trip of the same distance.
Uber predicts that trips from LAX to the Staples Centre during rush hour can be reduced from up to 1 hour 20 minutes on the ground to less than 30 minutes using UberAir.
Its prediction includes UberX transfers to and from UberAir launch pads – the flight over LA itself will take around four minutes, the firm said.
The plan will rely on a network of ‘Skyports,’ which will allow the VTOL Uber Air craft to take off and land on rooftops across the country
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