If you’re over the age of, say, 30, you have pretty clear memories of what it was like before everyone had mobile phones. This might be a little bit of a stretch connection but I’m calling the next couple years as the final time in our society, especially in cities, before drones are whizzing all over the place dropping off food and packages.
As the Wall Street Journal details, Pizza Hut in Israel plans to test a program this coming June for drone delivery. This will not be a door-to-door service, but rather the drones will take the food from Pizza Hut to “government-approved landing zones, such as designated spaces in parking lots,” where a delivery driver will pick it up and fulfill the final leg.
For now at least, Israel is keeping this program in a specially controlled bubble. From WSJ:
In Israel, the Ministry of Transportation is only allowing Pizza Hut to test its drone technology from one restaurant and within a designated “air bubble” measuring roughly 50 square miles in the north of the country. The parameters mean a very limited number of households would be able to receive an order directly by drone, [drone tech firm managing director Ido] Levanon said. Flying individual orders to doorsteps also would require a lot of drones, and a lot of battery charging, he added.
Nonetheless, it’s not a huge leap to see news like this, or the news from this past September that the FAA was granting rights for Amazon to try drone delivery, this is going to be technology that we barely think twice about. The costs of producing — and thus purchasing — drones will come down. Battery life will go up. Successful tests will give way to broader approval. I’d set the over/under for widespread drone delivery at about 2028.