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Drone

Ordering food and waiting for the better part of an hour may be a thing of the past soon, with Zomato drone delivery on the horizon.

Deepinder Goyal, the founder of food-ordering and restaurant-search platform Zomato hinted as much in a blog post published on the company’s official website.

In the blog post titled “Test Flight — Success,” he also said Zomato had actually tested a drone for a non-commercial delivery!

He also wrote in the post: “Food delivery by drones is no longer just a pipe dream. It’s almost here.”

The move will also prevent delivery executives from digging into the food, something that has happened with Zomato before.

What is Zomato drone delivery?

Zomato and its rivals have for quite some time now been trying to cut delivery times in order to ensure freshness of food and better customer service.

“We have been busy trying to build the tech to get your food to you in less than 15 minutes,” wrote Goyal.

He explained that Zomato’s current average delivery time is 30.5 minutes. He went on to add that Zomato’s drone had, however, been “able to cover a distance of 5 km in about 10 minutes, with a peak speed of 80 kmph, carrying a payload of 5 kg.”

The drone used was a hybrid, he said: a “fusion of rotary wing and fixed wings on a single drone.” It was the product of TechEagle, a company Zomato had acquired recently.

In picture: Members of the Zomato team working on drone delivery of food. | Image credit: Zomato official blog

How will Zomato drone delivery work?

Explaining the procedure, Goyal wrote in the blog post: “A drone 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.”

He also said: “The final design of our drone is lightweight, and treats safety as a top priority. It has inbuilt sensors and an onboard computer to sense and avoid static and dynamic objects, overall making it more efficient for autonomous flights.”

Speaking about whether the devices were safe or not, he wrote: “Although being fully automated, each drone is currently being tested with (remote) pilot supervision to ensure 100 percent safety. Over time, as we have more data, we might not need remote pilot supervision.”

In picture: The Zomato drone in action. | Image credit: Zomato official blog

When will it begin?

Zomato is currently working with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) — India’s watchdog for civil aviation — to obtain permission for food delivery by drones.

Goyal said in his post: “Regulatory hurdles are not trivial, and the government’s concerns need to be looked at from various (valid) points of view.

He concluded: “Having said that, the tech is ready to fly and I am confident that drone delivery will be commonplace sooner rather than later.”

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