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Look, up in the sky!

Pizza Hut exploring drone delivery service in Israel

By Kara Santos Published Jan 21, 2021 3:11 am

Get your pie in the sky!

Drones may soon be deployed for pizza deliveries, bringing steaming hot pepperoni pizzas closer to homes.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Pizza Hut Israel is now exploring and fully expecting to test the use of drone technology for their pizza delivery services by June this year. 

Before you get too excited, customers will not get the thrill of accepting pizzas from the futuristic flying machines directly in their homes anytime soon. Pizza Hut Israel has just announced plans to "test sending drones to drop multiple orders" at government-approved landing zones and designated spaces like parking lots. 

To avoid potential pizza (and drone) theft, delivery drivers will stil collect orders from these makeshift drone ports and take them on the final leg to customers, according to the report.

"Drone delivery is a sexy thing to talk about, but it's not realistic to think we're going to see drones flying all over the sky dropping pizzas into everyone's backyards anytime soon," said Ido Levanon, managing director of Dragontail Systems Ltd., the technology firm coordinating Pizza Hut's drone trial.

Pizza chains and tech startups have envisioned futuristic ways of delivering food to reach remote communities, including the use of drones, which can zip above road traffic, widen restaurants’ delivery areas and cost less than human drivers.

According to the WSJ article, equipping Pizza Hut’s Bnei Dror outlet with drones will let it service 7,000 additional households that normally can’t order delivery.

While there have been multiple attempts in the past to provide food delivery by drone among different fast food chains such as Pizza Hut and Domino's or for cargo delivery like Amazon, practical concerns such as regulations regarding use of drones, expensive technology, and the fast battery life of commercial drones, have posed a challenge to making regular airborne deliveries a reality.

Dragontail plans to test-fly cargo in the assigned area six times a day until June before its consumer deliveries begin. The Israeli regulator only allows flights carrying just over 2.5 kilograms (or roughly 5.5 pounds) of cargo, which is the equivalent of two pizzas and a bottle of Coke.

This isn’t the first time Pizza Hut has explored futuristic food delivery that seems to belong in the realm of science fiction. In 2018, the company introduced their first fully autonomous delivery concept vehicle during the Consumer Electronics Show. 

News of the pizza delivery service prompted comparisons to a similar-looking self-driving vehicle that hits a character in the Black Mirror episode "Crocodile, originally aired in 2017. The science fiction anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker is known for imagining dystopian futures based on modern trends and technology. 

"We know how this goes," the show's Twitter account said in response to the self-driving vehicle.

(Image via DragonTail, Pizza Hut Israel)