It looks like Uber, the California-based peer-to-peer ridesharing, taxi cab, food delivery, bicycle-sharing, and transportation network company, has set some lofty goals for the future of its on-demand food delivery service, Eats.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Uber has its eyes set on delivering Eats via drone delivery, dubbed UberExpress, by 2021. The company plans to make it a reality by hiring an operations executive that can make delivery drones operational within the next year. The job posting has since been deleted.
Uber Head of U.S. Cities for Uber Eats, Ana Mahony, told TechCrunch, that Uber has been able to “successfully introduce the Uber brand to the marketplace through Eats” and that “Eats is growing just as fast if not faster.”
UberEats has been successful thus far, so drone delivery wouldgive Eats a leg up in the increasingly competitive food delivery space. According to Business Insider, Eats is profitable in over 40 U.S. cities, the company has doubled its sales between August 2017 and February 2018, is the fastest-growing food delivery service and was recently valued at $20 billion. Pretty impressive right?
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Current regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not permit drone deliveries, only limited trials, nor does it allow drones to be operated beyond the line of sight (BVLOS). In order to make this a reality, regulations would need to be changed. Uber is already participating in the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP). The program aims to provide opportunities for state, local, and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or manufacturers, to accelerate safe UAS integration. The regulation of drone delivery also falls under this program, so Uber’s participation should help.
Stay tuned for more information on this story.