UberEats-style drone service delivering small goods and coffee

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A drone company promises to shake up food delivery by delivering coffee to your door faster than a barista can brew it.

In a world first, startup Wing flies drones at 110 km / h to deliver everything from roasted kibble to medicine to Canberra and South East Queensland via an Uber Eats-style phone app.

The futuristic service is offered to families who are short on time, but analysts said it would be expensive and consumers shouldn’t expect a “sky full of drones” anytime soon.

Who wants to use drone delivery services?

Wing’s drone delivery service currently operates in Logan, Queensland and Gungahlin in ACT.

The company has made more than 50,000 drone deliveries to Logan this year and made more than 10,000 deliveries to Canberra during the city’s current lockdown.

Political and Community Affairs wing chief Jesse Suskin said interest increased among a wide range of demographics during COVID-19.

He said hundreds of new users signed up during the blackouts.

“We have seen people remain customers even after the restrictions [ended in Canberra and Logan],” he said.

Queensland University of Technology professor and retail expert Gary Mortimer said consumers are “creatures of habit” who value convenience.

“Any service that provides… faster, more efficient delivery will always be welcomed by consumers,” said Dr. Mortimer.

But the nascent drone delivery industry has not been without its hiccups, with human error always a factor.

Dr Mortimer said that a Wing client in Logan recently waited 40 minutes for a Boost Juice delivered by drone.

“Someone has yet to receive this order, brew this coffee… find the drone, place it in the drone,” he said.

“So there are challenges in this area. “

Drone deliveries are taking off in Queensland, with 51,000 deliveries this year. Photo: Wing

How much does drone delivery cost?

Wing’s drone deliveries are currently free and available through the company’s app.

However, Mr. Suskin said Wing is currently working with partners on a delivery charge that “works for everyone,” rather than the current industry standard delivery charge model which he says “doesn’t work. not “.

“Some external studies say that [drone delivery] can be done for anywhere from two-thirds to 80 percent less than typical delivery, ”he said.

Dr Mortimer said the drone delivery costs will be critical to its success.

“I would be interested to see if customers will continue to use a service to have a loaf of bread delivered… to their homes if the delivery costs are high,” he said.

Purchases
While he doesn’t think drones are going to “revolutionize” the grocery store, Jesse Suskin said consumers appreciate the convenience of small orders. Photo: Wing

Are drones the future of shopping?

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Spokesman Peter Gibson said Wing is currently the only commercial home delivery drone service approved in Australia.

He said he had no knowledge of other applications for similar business models, but that some may be in the works.

Mr Gibson said home drone delivery services faced “complex risks” operating in public spaces, but Wing had shown this to be a viable option.

While some companies may strive to increase the distance drones can travel and the weight they can carry, Mr Suskin said consumers shouldn’t expect to do their entire grocery run via drones.

“I’m not sure drones will be the solution for everything,” he said.

“It’s those last minute convenience items that I think we’re best suited for.”

The increased use of drones could also benefit the environment.

A drone delivering a box of dry pasta would use less energy than it takes to boil water to cook the pasta, Mr Suskin said.

Dr Mortimer said drone deliveries of small purchases would mean fewer unnecessary vehicles on the roads, reducing emissions.

But he said the future growth of the industry in Australia will depend on costs and its ability to operate in apartment buildings in cities or near airports.

Dr Mortimer said that while many Australian consumers still enjoy the social interaction of traditional shopping, many are also getting used to the automation of the industry.


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