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Uber to invest in drone delivery

For a company that has yet to turn a profit, Uber continues to have big ideas. Recently the company showcased its latest in self-driving vehicle technology (a new X C90 SUV vehicle) as well as a future state for Uber Eats, according to Smart2Zero.

The Uber Eats stage involves the feasibility testing to see if restaurant meal delivery can be achieved by the use of a drone. One barrier to this has been overcome, with Uber indicating that local authority appeal has been granted for the company to start trials for delivering food by drone in the San Diego region.

This will involve testing out drone deliveries at safe drop-off locations, where an Uber Eats driver would then complete the order. This step is seen as a safer option that attempting to manoeuvre drones directly to customer residences.

The announcement about the wider use of drone technology was made at the Uber Elevate Summit.

In the longer-term, Uber aims to land drones on parked vehicles located near each delivery location to allow the final delivery by hand.

Commenting on this, Luke Fischer, head of flight operations said: “Our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button.”

He adds: “We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we’re able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate.”

The first phase of the San Diego tests will be in conjunction with burger giant McDonald’s. This will then be opened up to other Uber Eats restaurants later in 2019. Uber’s Elevate Cloud Systems will track and guide the drone, as well as notify an Eats delivery driver when and where to pick up their food.

Uber hopes to utilize data analytics from the trial to help harness improvements to its growing air network.

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