Food at the Speed of Flight: First Image Released of the Uber Eats Delivery Drone

The drone will help deliver your food faster, but no pizza flown straight to your bedside window.
Chris Young

Uber has released new details as well as an image of its Uber Eats delivery drone. The company unveiled the new design at this year's Forbes 30 under 30 Summit.

The unmanned food carrier is a six-rotor Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) drone that is designed to deliver a meal for two people and substantially cut down the waiting time.


Part of the food delivery chain

The total flight range for Uber's VTOL drone is 18 miles (28.9 km), with a round-trip delivery range of 12 miles (19.3 km).

The drone, however, has quite a short battery life of only 8 minutes. This won't be too much of an issue as the unmanned craft will only carry out part of the delivery process. 

As previously revealed, the drone will deliver the food to a drop-off point. An Uber Eats driver can then use Uber's Elevate Cloud Systems, the company's airspace management system, to track the drone and know where to do the pick-up before taking the food the rest of the way.

While this might dash dreams of having food delivered straight to one's eighth-floor apartment window, the drop-off system should thankfully mean we won't be having huge fleets of drones whizzing around cities. 

As Engadget points out, Uber is planning to start drone deliveries in the summer of 2020 in San Diego, where it has already made a few test delivery runs in partnership with McDonald's.

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The sky is the limit

All of this is linked to Uber's ambitious plans to bring flying taxis into commercial use, as it uses the same Uber Elevate Cloud Services (ECS) that was made for Uber Air.

Back in 2017, the ride-hailing company's head of product, Jeff Holden, announced that it had signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to create an air traffic control system for its flying taxi project. 

"UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than has ever been done before. Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies," Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber, said at the time.

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