Pizza delivery goes hi-tech in Russia.
DoDo Pizza restaurant in Syktyvkarsk, Russia, has launched the country’s first ever pizza delivery service using unmanned helicopter drones.
A pizza was delivered within half an hour in the city’s main square last week by the eight-rotor octocopter, which was provided by Russian firm CopterExpress.
The drones are able to deliver up to 5kg of weight at speeds of up to 40km/hr, and are mounted with cameras and built-in GPS, which enables the restaurant manager to monitor the journey and delivery.
The restaurant has devised a system to prevent unauthorised deliveries. When the drone reaches its destination, the restaurant manager calls the customer to come outside to accept it. As the manager sees the customer coming out, the pizza is lowered to the ground using a cable.
The drone always hovers 20 metres above the ground to stop thefts. If someone tries to tug on the cable, an emergency mechanism is triggered, which releases the cable, allowing the drone to make a quick escape.
Card payments are not yet accepted by the drones, with customers needing to pay online after ordering through phones.
DoDo Pizza is offering a live stream video feed, which will showcase pizzas made by staff in real-time, and also promises free delivery if the order can’t be completed within 60 minutes.
DoDo Pizza’s CEO plans drone deliveries to other spots around Syktyvkar as well as beaches and other public places by the end of summer.
As reported in rt.com, DoDo Pizza earned about $100 through the service on the first day.
DoDo Pizza is the second pizzeria in the world to offer drone deliveries, with the first being Francesco’s Pizza in Mumbai, India, which tested drone pizza deliveries in May. The Mumbai experiment, however, ran into small trouble when the city police were not convinced about the restaurant taking prior approval from civil aviation authorities and intended to launch an investigation.
Russia, on the other hand, adores flying drones and is expected to spend around $13bn on the unmanned aerial devices by 2020, according to Wired.
Drone delivery supporters argue about its potential for minimising expenses to more expansive use such as search-and-rescue ops; security concerns, however, loom large over the unregulated use of such devices.
The Federal Aviation Administration in the US recently grounded Amazon’s plans to use drones to deliver packages. Even the National Park Service barred all drone flights from its parks in the country.
In a comment, the FAA said: "The Act’s model aircraft provisions apply only to hobby or recreation operations and do not authorise the use of model aircraft for commercial operations."