Tuesday, April 9, 2024

DoorDash, Alphabet’s Wing partner to bring drone delivery to the U.S.

DoorDash and Wing have partnered up to launch a drone delivery service in the U.S., starting in Christiansburg, Virginia. The pilot’s first restaurant partner is Wendy’s. Local consumers will be able to order eligible menu items through DoorDash and have them delivered via drone.

DoorDash and Wing launched a similar program in Australia in 2022 and later expanded to three locations in Queensland, with over 60 participating merchants. This marked the first time that Wing integrated its drone delivery service within another marketplace.

DoorDash customers in Christiansburg, VA, who have an eligible address can opt for drone delivery when placing a qualifying order from the Wendy’s restaurant located at 2355 N. Franklin Street. The option to choose drone delivery will be available on the checkout page.

After selecting the drone delivery option and placing their order, the meal will be prepared and packaged at the Wendy’s location and delivered via a Wing drone. The orders are expected to arrive on average within half an hour or less without adding extra vehicles on the road. Wing drones can travel up to 65 mph (105 km/h). Upon reaching its destination, the drone will lower the order to the doorstep using a tether.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Wing in the U.S. to integrate drone delivery into DoorDash’s ecosystem,” said Harrison Shih, Senior Director of DoorDash Labs. “At DoorDash, we are committed to advancing last-mile logistics by building a multi-modal delivery platform that serves all sides of our marketplace. We’re optimistic about the value drone delivery will bring to our platform as we work to offer more efficient, sustainable, and convenient delivery options for consumers.”

Drone delivery has been a popular idea since 2013, when Amazon’s Prime Air was unveiled. However, regulatory hurdles have kept the concept from taking off until recently. Countries are now testing the idea, and one recent example is the food deliveries in Stockholm, Sweden.

Thanks to a new deal involving Wendy’s, residents of Christiansburg will also be able to enjoy the benefits of drone delivery. This is not the first time Wing has operated in Christiansburg.

“Expanding our partnership with DoorDash and launching in the U.S. is a direct result of the success we’ve seen from our initial collaboration in Australia, where Wing has served tens of thousands of customers via the DoorDash app for over a year now,” said Cosimo Leipold, Head of Partnerships, at Wing. “Wing has now made over 350,000 deliveries across three countries, and looking ahead, we are focused on providing a fast, affordable, and safe service to our partners so they can better serve their customers. This moment continues our meaningful expansion of this service in the U.S. and advances our shared goal to better the last-mile delivery ecosystem.”

Through this partnership, DoorDash is looking to offer an innovative and sustainable delivery solution for small, short-distance orders in addition to traditional Dasher-fulfilled orders. DoorDash’s partnership with Wing for drone deliveries could potentially lead to incremental order growth across the platform. The pilot will start in Christiansburg and could expand to other cities later this year.

DoorDash’s robotics and automation arm, DoorDash Labs, is leading the way in creating new platform solutions to satisfy consumer demand while improving efficiencies within the platform.