Zomato introduces drone technology in delivery

Zomato has successfully tested its maiden drone delivery tech, a move that will reduce the time and energy to deliver food at customers doorstep. The test was conducted using a hybrid drone, with a fusion of rotary wing and fixed wings on a single drone. It was successfully and seamlessly able to cover a distance of 5 km, in about 10 minutes, with a peak speed of 80 kmph, carrying a payload of 5 kgs, the company said in a statement. Zomato had acquired TechEagle a few months ago to solve this issue.

According to the company, the final design of the drone is lightweight and treats safety as a top priority. It has inbuilt sensors and an onboard computer to sense and avoids static and dynamic objects, overall making it more efficient for autonomous flights. They are also capable of taking off vertically like a helicopter, transiting to an airplane mode to cover the distance and then switching back to helicopter mode for vertical landing without requiring any airstrip.

In the first iteration of food delivery via drones, they will pick up the food package from a restaurant hub (a dispatch station around a cluster of restaurants), and drop the package at a customer hub (a landing station close to dense communities), and comes back to the dispatch site using a mix of different and appropriate flight modes, Zomato said. Although being fully automated, each drone is currently being tested with (remote) pilot supervision to ensure 100% safety. Over time, as the company collects more data, it might do away with pilot supervision.