Online takeaway website Just Eat will be trialling drone food deliveries to try and improve its delivery times and service.
The company has partnered with Starship Technologies to introduce the automated delivery vehicle, which uses the streets of London – rather than the skies – to make its deliveries of fresh, hot food.
Starship’s drone can make deliveries of up to three miles at walking pace, which possibly isn’t the fastest way to get food delivered, although it will save manpower for deliveries further afield.
Each drone has its own onboard camera that can be used to track orders, while staff in a command centre can take over the controls if necessary.
To prevent the food from being stolen by people who see it on the street, the person who ordered the food will need to input a security code to open the insulated food compartment.
Just Eat’s CEO David Buttress commented: “We continuously look for sustainable ways to use technology to make our customers’ and restaurant partners lives easier. We can’t wait to bring the delivery robots to local high streets very soon.”
Starship Technology’s drone has already been tested in cities overseas and have clocked up 5,000 miles during trials.
“There is a lot of talk in the industry of this sort of automation, and the use of drones as well, but there are many health and safety and compliance issues to overcome,” Bryan Roberts, analyst at TCC Global told the BBC.
“Unleashing these robots on the street carries an inherent risk, and may even show a naive view of human nature and people’s desire to interfere with this type of technology.”
Other companies including courier company Hermes and another food delivery service, London-based Pronto, are also trialling Starship Technology’s robots.