Uber hopes to begin Uber Eats drone delivery in San Diego this summer

Uber's first foray into delivering goods via drone could begin this summer.

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Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Uber's vision for the future will have Eats orders delivered by drones. 


Watch out Amazon:  Uber's plans for flight expand well beyond flying cars for transporting people. It also wants to deliver Uber Eats orders via drone. 

The announcement was made with a video at the company's Uber Elevate conference. Uber took an Uber Eats order from McDonald's in the video. It placed a Big Mac and fries into specially designed packaging and then flew the food from the restaurant to a designated location where an Uber courier picked up the order to deliver it to the customer. 

Unlike other drone delivery services, Uber isn't planning to initially deliver the orders directly to customers' homes. Instead, it hopes to land the drones on cars using QR codes and then have the cars and traditional drivers complete the delivery. 

The company is working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the project.  


Uber has created special Eats packaging to transport food via drone. 


According to Bloomberg, which got to witness the drone delivery in action in May, the company plans to begin drone delivery in San Diego this summer with pricing "consistent" with Uber Eats regular delivery that can currently cost up to $8.50. The publication adds that, in addition to testing deliveries of McDonald's burgers and fries, Uber has been testing drone delivery of the restaurant chain's ice cream. 

The goal of drone delivery is speed. According to Bloomberg, for a delivery 1.5 miles away transporting goods by ground transportation averages 21 minutes while drones can make the trip in about 7 minutes. 

Uber's plans for drone deliveries come a day after the company announced it would be partnering with AT&T on 5G air taxis. The companies hope to launch commercial services in 2023 across Los Angeles, Dallas Fort Worth and a yet-to-be-announced international city.