Let's say you’re a busy Italian restaurant in South Mumbai. Your customer wants a pizza delivered NOW NOW NOW but traffic is totally insane. What do you do?
You send that pizza by drone!
On May 11, Francesco's Pizzeria became the first restaurant in India to successfully pull this off. Normally it sends out an employee on a motorcycle and the delivery takes about 30 minutes.
This time it used a remote-controlled, GPS-enabled four-rotor drone which, flying at 30 kilometers an hour, made the trip in about 10 minutes.
The unmanned aerial vehicle zipped up to the rooftop of the 21-story apartment building where the hungry customer was waiting, dropped off its payload, then returned to the restaurant.
Actually, as it turns out, the “customer” was a friend of Mikhel Rajani, the restaurant's CEO, "so technically it was not a sale," notes the Times of India.
This boring detail is important because it's still illegal to use drones for commercial delivery in India. But one day that’ll all change and Francesco’s Pizza will be ready.
Despite the successful trial run, several legal and technical obstacles stand between India and a future filled with flying food.
- Current regulations only allow drones to fly at an altitude of 200 to 400 feet.
- Batteries tend to die after 8 kilometers of flight.
- Drones can run into physical barriers — such as “wind, birds, wires and air traffic.”
- GPS signals tend to drop between tall buildings, creating an “urban canyon” effect.
And let’s not overlook the risks of pizza piracy, or loss of product due to pizza falling from the sky onto people’s heads.
In the meantime, enjoy this video of the delivery. It’s everything you could hope for in a short, James Bond-like film about a pizza delivery drone.