UberEats is planning to introduce food-delivery drones by the year 2021.
Imagine a world where you order your meal online and then 20 minutes later you receive a text message saying that your order has been delivered. You see on your front porch a nicely packaged box of food, and in the distance, the small, whirring form of a drone heading back to the restaurant to carry out its next delivery.
Sounds like science fiction, but we could be living in that world in as little as two years.
According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, UberEats is looking to get drone deliveries up and running by the year 2021. Much of their report is based on a job posting for an “operations executive” on the Uber website. That posting has since been removed, but it provided quite a bit of insight into Uber’s future plans.
Testing for Uber’s food delivery drones is to begin by next year, with development taking place through 2019 and 2020. A working prototype will be developed, and then a country-wide rollout by 2021.
Uber was quick to put the brakes on whatever hype the article generated, with a company spokesperson saying the removed job ad “does not fully reflect our program, which is still in very early days.”
Be that as it may, a drone delivery program would certainly help UberEats’ plans to expand their customer base. Currently, UberEats is available to 50% of the US population, but according to TechCrunch, they want to expand to reach 70% of the population by year’s end.
Since drones aren’t due out until 2021, Uber is taking a more conventional approach to their expansion by partnering with more restaurant chains like Red Lobster and TGI Friday’s, as well as targeting suburban areas.
The Verge reports that UberEats will first expand to Eugene Oregon, Burlington Vermont, and Cedar Rapids Iowa, but notes this is just a partial list. The full list could include many more locations that cover a large swath of suburban United States.