Fried chicken wings its way to offshore vessel - via drone

Foodpanda trials delivery service in collaboration with ST Engineering

When rolled out commercially, pandaFly is intended to complement Foodpanda's delivery network of riders. ST Engineering said it might take between three and five years before such drone-based food delivery services are made available to consumers, pe
When rolled out commercially, pandaFly is intended to complement Foodpanda's delivery network of riders. ST Engineering said it might take between three and five years before such drone-based food delivery services are made available to consumers, pending regulatory approval and further trials.PHOTO: ST ENGINEERING

Chickens do not stay in flight for long, but airborne fried chicken can go the distance, thanks to Foodpanda's planned drone delivery service.

On Thursday, the food delivery platform successfully trialled its pandaFly drone delivery in collaboration with ST Engineering.

Five packets of ayam penyet, a "smashed" fried chicken dish, made their way from Marina South Pier to a PACC Offshore Services Holdings vessel in a test flight. The delivery to the vessel, located 3km off the pier, took about 10 minutes.

When rolled out commercially, pandaFly is intended to complement Foodpanda's existing delivery network of riders.

The company said its drones "will ideally be able to pick up and deliver orders at designated collection points located islandwide where one of Foodpanda's 12,000 riders will be waiting to complete the last-mile delivery".

An ST Engineering spokesman said it might take between three and five years before such drone-based food delivery services are made available to consumers, pending regulatory approval and further trials.

Mr Luc Andreani, managing director of Foodpanda Singapore, said: "Delivering with drones has always been part of our long-term plan, and to see our Foodpanda box up in the air today takes us a big step forward to be the first food delivery platform that makes drone deliveries a reality.

"Much more than a novelty, drone deliveries will help us deliver over longer distances faster while keeping costs low, so that we can continue to satisfy our customers more instantaneously."

Foodpanda and ST Engineering partnered in March to adapt the latter's DroNet solution for the delivery of light food items over short distances of up to 3km.

DroNet is a drone network solution designed for autonomous operations in an urban environment.

Foodpanda and ST Engineering next intend to test drones that can fly for a longer duration.

 

F-drones was the first company in Singapore approved to make drone deliveries.

It launched its service in April with a maiden flight from Marina South Pier to a ship anchored off the island, delivering a parcel containing 2kg of vitamins. The 2.7km-long flight took about seven minutes.

F-drones has a year-long deal with shipping giant Eastern Pacific Shipping for such deliveries.

The local start-up is now working on drones that can carry a load of up to 100kg over 100km.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2020, with the headline 'Fried chicken wings its way to offshore vessel - via drone'. Subscribe