Uber is launching an air version of its Uber Eats service in San Diego alongside its plans of bringing Uber Air for public use through Uber Elevate. And the concept is arriving sooner than expected.
Uber Elevate is the ride-sharing company’s urban air mobility division that supervises all of Uber’s innovations towards taking advantage of the positive impacts and possibilities of aerial delivery.
Conventionally, ground travel has grown to become overly congested and a nuisance that the solution of making deliveries more efficient is by looking up to the sky.
Ride-sharing companies and other mobility services such as food deliveries are dependent on their human drivers to provide and fulfill orders. But with the current rate of driver satisfaction, implementing autonomous or tech-dependent vehicles would help Uber alleviate worries from continued driver decline.
And today, Uber, for the first time, shared a glimpse of its next-generation delivery service via Twitter. Working alongside its partner McDonald’s in making the aerial delivery concept a reality; Uber Elevate tests drones to deliver Mcdonald’s with its specialized box to hold items in place.
Here’s how delivery works:
As much as we want to, drones won’t carry your orders right on your doorstep, at least not yet. Ideally, once a customer confirms an order, the assigned restaurant prepares the meal and then load it into the drone’s specialized box.
The very same drone will then ascend and glide on its journey to its designated drop-off point where an on-ground vehicle awaits to accomplish the last leg of the delivery.
Uber’s Elevate Cloud Systems will track and guide the drone, as well as, notify an Uber Eats delivery driver when and where to pick up the package. The drones will use the QR codes emblazoned on Uber Eats vehicles to determine its designated drop-off point.
In its Uber Elevate Conference 2019, the ride-hailing company pointed out its avoidance of making restaurant-to-home deliveries a reason for an accident on the road. Also, its participation to limit noise pollution caused by a handful of rotors zipping to and fro.
Regarding pricing rates and fees, Bloomberg reported that the air-involved Uber Eats delivery fee will be “consistent” in the San Diego area ranging up to $8.50.
Uber plans to start making deliveries via drone in San Diego as early as this summer and would wish to expand to neighboring cities like Los Angeles. However, Uber is still awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to proceed.
“We’ve been working closely with the FAA to ensure that we’re meeting requirements and prioritizing safety,” Uber Elevate Head of Flight Operations Luke Fischer said in a statement. “From there, our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button. We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we’re able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate.”
Uber Eats earns the company more than its parent service or ridesharing—which would prove why Uber is so adamant in pushing drone services with Uber Eats be available right away.
Specifically, Eats is on a steady pace of increasing its profits margin compared to Uber. Eats proves to be a revenue driver with gross bookings growth of 108% to $3.07 billion.
For the first quarter of 2019 alone, Eats generated $536 million in revenue for Uber — doubling the revenue generated from its 2018’s first quarter. Meanwhile, Uber’s ride-hailing revenue only went up 9 percent year-over-year.
From a broader perspective, Uber’s first-quarter earnings in 2019 reported a gross bookings growth of 230% for its other bets, while ride-hailing grew 22% compared to the same quarter last year.