Drones for commercial use up ten times in one year- pizza delivered by drone?

The drone industry is booming. And the number of companies authorized to use drones for commercial drones is up from 499 to over 5000 in just one year according to the NBC Today show. The number of personal drones registered has risen to over a million in the USA. Currently the Xponential 2016 Conference and Trade Show is underway. This is an event of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Xponential 2016 is  one among many trade shows of the drone industry.

The NBC report suggest that commercial drone companies are ready to deliver your coffee in a few minutes from order to your work place lawn.  And there has been talk about pizza delivery and a video “Dominos DomiCopter”is pictured above. 

Commercial drones are examples of the growing Internet of things. Once pizza delivery by drone is commercialized-  the pizza delivery experience could play out as follows:

  • The pizza store takes your pizza order online and conveys by screen  to the human cooks – a bit like McDonald conveys your counter order to the kitchen.
  • Human cooks (for the time being at least- till automation takes over) will put together your order and keep the pizza ready for delivery
  • The pizza delivery drone will pick up and deliver your pizza 
  • And you will not be obligated to tip the pizza delivery guy
  • Your pizza payment will be charged to your credit card and might include a delivery charge till drone costs come down

Unlike Uber and Airbnb where you are dealing with an entrepreneur ( i.e. the Uber driver or the Airbnb owner) one is unsure if the pizza shop owner will increase deliveries or business, because of drone delivery of pizzas- except on the busiest days.

The pizza delivery guy who takes the payment and tips will be the loser here. This is one more  example of a relatively low-skill  part-time job that is outsourced to technology.  It also marks a huge shift in removing human contact at the delivery point of a perishable product. So far you had refrigeration of milk that allowed the marketer  to remove “time” in the marketing equation. If you can cool the milk and keep it cold – you have time to sell it at supermarkets.

For warm cooked food the last mile to the customer’s home had to be done by a human being. Commercial drones that deliver restaurant food brings a new angle to distribution with the Internet of things.

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