Get your food delivered in under 15 min soon! Zomato successfully tests drone tech
The under 30-minute delivery is set to be a thing of the past and your food can soon reach your doorstep in less than 15 minutes! One of India's leading food delivery platforms, Zomato is set to take the concept to new level after successfully testing its maiden drone delivery tech.
The under 30-minute delivery is set to be a thing of the past and your food can soon reach your doorstep in less than 15 minutes! One of India's leading food delivery platforms, Zomato is set to take the concept to new level after successfully testing its maiden drone delivery tech. The test was conducted using a hybrid drone, with a fusion of rotary wing and fixed wings on a single drone. The company claimed that the drone was successfully and seamlessly able to cover a distance of 5 kms, in about 10 minutes, with a peak speed of 80 kmph, carrying a payload of 5 kgs.
Zomato said that the average time take by its biker fleet to deliver food is 30.5 minutes. But, to achieve the same is impossible if they have to deliver paranthas from Chandni Chowk (in the heart of Delhi) to Gurgaon (outside Delhi), covering a distance of about 35 kms. The company believes that this could change with the introduction of drones.
"The only possible way to reduce the average 30.5 minutes to 15 minutes is to take the aerial route – roads are not efficient for very fast delivery. We have been working towards building sustainable and safe delivery technology and with our first successful test, food delivery by drones is no longer just a pipe dream," Deepinder Goyal, Founder & CEO, Zomato, said.
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Zomato acquired TechEagle a few months ago to with this aim. The final design of its drone is lightweight, and treats safety as a top priority. The drone comes with inbuilt sensors and an onboard computer to sense and avoid static and dynamic objects, overall making it more efficient for autonomous flights. Interestingly, the drones are also capable of taking off vertically like a helicopter, transiting to an airplane mode to cover the distance and then switching back to helicopter mode for vertical landing without requiring any airstrip.
However, the regulations remain a challenge for the company. As per the notification issued by Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on 13 May 2019, interested organisations have been asked to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the DGCA for conducting experimental Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations (BVLOS) of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Zomato is forming a consortium as per DGCA’s guidelines to carry out experimental BVLOS operations.
Goyal is confident that drone delivery will become popular sooner or later. "While regulatory hurdles are not trivial, and the government’s concerns need to be looked at from various (valid) points of view, the tech is ready to fly and I am confident that drone delivery will be commonplace sooner rather than later," he said.
In the first iteration of food delivery via drones, they will pick up the food package from a restaurant hub (a dispatch station around a cluster of restaurants), and drop the package at a customer hub (a landing station close to dense communities), and come back to the dispatch site using a mix of different and appropriate flight modes.