In a buzzy urban area in Shenzhen, China, sandwiched between several skyscrapers, a yellow-and-black drone descended onto a pickup kiosk by the street. The top of the vending-machine-size kiosk opened up for the drone to land, and a white cardboard box containing the drink was placed inside. When the customer had made the delivery order on their phone half an hour before, the app noted that it would arrive by drone at 2:03 p.m., and that was exactly when it came.
At lunchtime, the manager of a ramen store received a take-out order at a shopping mall in Longgang District, Shenzhen. In less than 20 minutes, the takeaway was delivered to the consumer, with the difference that this time it was an aerial delivery service provided by a drone.
The reporter went to the site of the Meituan drone operation, only to see several drones loaded with take-out boxes in the low altitude orderly through. As seen on the big screen of Meituan’s drone air operation management center, a drone slowly descended at the top of the intelligent drop cabinet next to the office building, and then the door above the drop cabinet automatically opened, and the take-out box was steadily put into the dining cabinet. A few minutes later, customers came to scan the code to take away the meal. From the order to take meals, the whole process does not exceed 15 minutes.
“Drone delivery has the advantages of fast speed and controlled process, which is an effective supplement to instant logistics transportation.” Yang Junwei, the person in charge of Meituan’s drone operations, said that the long delivery time and the damage to the taste of food caused by knocks during the delivery process make the vast majority of catering businesses have concerns about outbound catering services. Drones can fly over obstacles and congested areas and deliver food directly to users, more than twice as fast as traditional take-out time, and the delivery process is smooth, and the delivery process avoids spills and string taste.
“From the operation practice of the past two years, the user evaluation gradually to good.” Yang Junwei said that this new delivery method is not only efficient and stable, and reduces road congestion and carbon emissions, more eco-friendly.
The drone delivery service is operated by Meituan, China’s most popular food delivery platform.At the beginning of 2021, Meituan drones completed the first order delivery task for real users in Shenzhen. Up to now, they have landed in 5 business districts in Shenzhen, with 11 routes covering 18 communities and office buildings, and can deliver 20,000 kinds of goods, with a total of more than 120,000 orders from users, with an average delivery time of about 12 minutes, saving nearly 30,000 hours of waiting time for users.