While Uber Elevate and the idea of passenger drones is a grand, paradigm shifting technology; Uber Express seems at first glance a more modest plan. Uber Eats has become an important part of the company, The Wall Street Journal reports that UberEats is valued at approximately $20 billion. Adding drones to the mix – which could both improve service to customers and cut down on driver costs – could boost the division even higher.
Challenges are certainly significant. While delivery of medical supplies in remote areas like Rwanda have been successful, those systems don’t translate well to populated areas. Residential drone delivery has been something of a holy grail for large companies like Amazon, who have invested significant resources in the project – and they aren’t there yet. Manufacturing drones has proved very challenging for many companies not in the aerospace sector. Regulations don’t yet support the scale implementation of drones in residential areas. And a reasonable solution to support delivery in the last 50 feet of the trip just hasn’t been perfected.
But with one more large company working towards the goal, drone delivery doesn’t seem too far away.