“Is it a bird? Is it a plane?! No, it’s just Chipotle dropping off lunch!”
A statement like that ten years ago would have had us in the strait jackets. However, today, suc such situations may become commonplace; Chipotle is testing delivering burritos with drones. This follows Domino’s experiments with delivery drones last month.
It’s Raining Burritos!
This month, Chipotle is conducting a test run of the drone delivery system by delivering burritos at Virginia Tech.
The burritos will first be assembled at a food truck, following which they will be loaded on the drone. Around hundreds of flights and burrito deliveries are expected once the testing phase begins; however, the tests will be limited to a select area and group of people.
Alphabet Inc, Virginia Tech and Chipotle
Alphabet, the parent company of Google was behind the development of the drones and tied up with Chipotle to develop a drone delivery plan. Alphabet chose Chipotle because of the multiple challenges involved in delivering a burrito including its fragility, its heat and the salsa (which can get quite messy). Virginia Tech received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to be a site for drone testing in 2013, which is why it has been selected as a test site.
The drones have been created by Alphabet’s X research lab. In a blog post, Alphabet X’s chief stated “: “Our goal is to maximize learning, and food delivery poses a rich set of operating challenges that few other testing scenarios have. A lunchtime rush of burrito orders will crank up the operational pressure of multiple orders coming in during a short period of time. We’ll get to test how to package sensitive cargo and how well it endures [on] the journey (after all, everyone wants their meal hot and in the right shape). In future tests, we could add a broader range of items, like drinks, which will push us to handle more weight, keep packages carefully balanced, and manage combinations of items on a single flight.”
If this should prove successful, drone delivery will be subject to further tests.