IFood has announced that it will start testing drone deliveries in Brazil. Scheduled to start in October in the city of Campinas, in the interior of São Paulo, the program will use quadcopters to fulfill two predetermined routes.
The process aims to evaluate the possible efficiency gains of the modality in delivery services. The equipment used will be provided by Brazilian Speedbird and AL Drones, which received certification from Anac (National Civil Aviation Agency).
Deliveries will be made over a 400-meter perimeter between a shopping mall’s food court and the iFood distribution center. From there, the service continues on the floor, in a traditional way. Here are some questions and answers about the novelty and know what to expect from delivery by drones in national territory.
How it works?
The project starts without delivering directly to customers’ windows. The drone goes to a distribution center where orders continue to travel with couriers via land transport, as is already the case today.
This place will be at a distance of 400 meters from the food court of Shopping Iguatemi Campinas, and drones should take about 2 minutes to cover the distance – the normal time would be 12 minutes, according to iFood. Once at the distribution hub, orders are organized and sent to motorcycle, bicycle or scooter deliverers to carry out the rest of the journey.
Another experimental route will start at the iFood Hub and destination in a condominium 2.5 kilometers away. According to iFood, drones must overcome this distance in 4 minutes, against 10 minutes done in a conventional way.
What changes for the user?
Campinas residents who place orders on iFood during the testing program will not notice any changes in the experience of using the app. According to the service, the choice of which delivery process will be employed for each order is carried out automatically by algorithms that analyze routes, distances and estimates of the duration of the route.
The same system will be used for drones, which will be chosen when the analysis of iFood’s internal system demonstrates that the use of aircraft can reduce delivery time and increase efficiency in the process.
Which cities will receive the tests?
In this first moment, the tests will be restricted to the city of Campinas, in the state of São Paulo. IFood explains that it needed to choose a point with a high volume of orders to test the efficiency of the alternative drone transport, which is why the region was selected.
Another important factor in choosing the city of Campinas was Anac’s own recommendation due to the relief characteristics. According to iFood, the program will be extended to other cities in the future, if the initial tests show good results.
Are there any predictions of when drone delivery will reach everyone?
To TechTudo, iFood said it does not make estimates as to when the drone delivery service will be universally available. The only confirmation at the moment is that the tests should begin in October. However, the company recognizes that the situation surrounding the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus makes it difficult to set dates.