How drones are revolutionizing delivery by taking to the skies

The year 2023 is proving to be the year of drone delivery. Several startups have been hard at work, learning and improving their ability to deploy a network of drones for efficient delivery.

The instant gratification of getting a last-minute item, prescription drugs and fast food in record time are some of the focal points expected to drive initial demand.

Food delivery has grown immensely in popularity, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many different apps available like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, Seamless, and Caviar to get your meals and snacks delivered right to your door, many people (myself included) have opted for convenience.


Drones can deliver in minutes

However, the way our food is delivered may be changing as more companies test drone delivery as a means of delivering directly to customers. Each company is experimenting with drone delivery in different ways. A newer concept that has come to fruition is Zipline’s latest delivery drone called the Platform 2. Zipline has perfected the concept of delivery and is now building a turnkey solution that is one of the smartest approaches to its anticipated boom demand.


The latest drone delivery makes it almost invisible to the ears

The year 2023 is the year of drones. (Zip line)

Platform 2 looks like it should have a cute name with the design of the drop vehicle being lowered by the main hovering drone from 300 feet above. Onboard propellers stabilize the descent in all kinds of rough weather conditions. I watched a demo of Platform 2 set up an object on a patio table almost silently. Other delivery drones are not as quiet.

Noise is a huge challenge along with the chaos of drone traffic that is set to buzz over our homes for the next year and beyond. While Zipline has invented a clever silent delivery method, many others have not achieved such smoothness in their deliveries.

Local laws range from extreme restrictions to anything goes, and the FAA has taken steps to regulate how and when drones fly. So much still needs to be figured out and agreed upon, including how to handle traffic in the skies at altitudes exceeding 400 feet. It’s up to communities to work with drone companies to quickly find standards before drones fill the skies above, becoming more of a nuisance than a huge benefit.

REEPY CHINESE DRONE swims underwater and flies in the air

Flytrex drone delivering an item

Flytrex drone delivering an item (Flytrex)

Which companies use drones for food delivery?

Several businesses have begun testing drone deliveries in recent months. More recently, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Walmart partnered with Israeli automated drone delivery startup Flytrex to test their drone delivery system via in-app purchases.

At the time of publication, the company was only making deliveries to select locations throughout North Carolina. One woman even posted a video that went viral showing a Starbucks order being delivered by drone. You can see her video Instagram page.

Other companies around the country use similar systems. El Pollo Loco is testing its Air Loco drone delivery system in California.

El Pollo Loco is testing a delivery with Air Loco's drone.

El Pollo Loco is testing a delivery with Air Loco’s drone. (El Pollo Loco)

Flirtey is a drone delivery company that has partnered with several restaurants, including Pizza Hut and Domino’s.

Flirtey drone with Domino delivery.

Flirtey drone with Domino delivery. (Flirty)

Wing, which is a drone company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has also partnered with several restaurants, including Chick-Fil-A. Uber Eats has been testing drone deliveries in various locations since 2019.


What does this mean for the future of food delivery workers?

Considering more and more companies seem to be following the drone trend, it’s not looking great for food delivery workers. This is an easy way for companies to save more money because they will no longer have to pay people to deliver them.

More and more companies are even opting for AI technology in their restaurants, especially fast food chains. With self-service machines to place your order, delivery apps, and now delivery drones, it’s almost as if these chains are trying to get rid of human workers.

A drone and delivery controller.

A drone and delivery controller. (

Is drone delivery the best option?


I can think of one positive for drone delivery. It will probably cut the delivery time in half. Your Uber Eats order takes so long to reach your doorstep because delivery workers usually face traffic or traffic jams, especially during meal times. Drone delivery would help this issue immensely.

However, there are definitely a lot of downsides to it. Besides putting people out of work, drones are almost certain to make any neighborhood that much noisier. And if a bunch of them are flying around at once, that could make a convenience quickly turn into a nuisance. There is also always the possibility of a drone malfunctioning and crashing, which could be a serious safety hazard.

Flirtey drone has worked with many restaurants.

Flirtey drone has worked with many restaurants. (Flirty)

I guess that’s why a lot of these businesses are taking their time to test out these delivery drones before implementing them permanently, so we’ll have to see where it all goes.

Would you rather have drones deliver your food than humans? Tell us your opinion.


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