A fleet of drones, high definition cameras on board, and they are all autonomous – sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, right? Well, the ride-hailing company Uber may soon create a world with that premise. And no, unlike their science fiction counterparts, these drones are not armed guards of a futuristic dystopian society. Uber plans on making them deliver food to your doorstep.
In a previous article, we talked about Uber’s plan on a mass-produced drone delivery for their UberEats division. Here, one only presses a button on an app, and the drone delivers the food to their doorstep. While this is a highly futuristic and grandiose plan (targeted to fully take place by 2021), it has some hiccups it needs to fix.
UberEats Drone Plans
While Uber marches forward with their plans, they may face some resistance along the way. With the rise in popularity and use of drones among the civilian population, rules and regulations surrounding them also became stricter. Issues revolving around privacy and accountability are often cited, especially with increasing instances of incidents involving civilian drones. Peeping Toms use them to spy on people, delivery drones transport contraband in prisons, and some even disrupt plane travel.
For Uber to launch a massive drone fleet that can go to private residences and deliver items, everyone needs to be in agreement. This can be a tough case as each town, district, or state have their own distinct and specified drone regulations. If Uber wants to operate their drones in each area, they have to ensure they are not breaking any local laws. This may even extend the target date years back, until all these individual cases pass through government checks.
Another issue is the autonomy of these devices. For most civilian drones, each user must have a direct line of sight with the drone at all times while flying. This helps prevent accidents such as the drone disrupting power lines or crashing into the ground. An autonomous drone may face problems during its flight. A fleet of them can lead to a very flashy disaster in front of a spectating crowd.