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Pizza Hut Israel Plans Drone Delivery Trial

Pizza Hut Israel is trialing a new program that would enable drones to bring orders for delivery to pre-approved hubs, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday (Jan. 18).

The company is planning to launch a test pilot and send drones to deliver multiple orders at government-approved landing zones in Israel — such as designated parking spots. From that point, drivers would take the food to the last leg of delivery, according to the report.

“Drone delivery is a sexy thing to talk about, but it’s not realistic to think we’re going to see drones flying all over the sky dropping pizzas into everyone’s backyards anytime soon,” Ido Levanon told the Journal. Levanon is the managing director of Dragontail Systems, the technology firm coordinating Pizza Hut’s drone trial.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the agency overseeing drones, told the news outlet that regulations regarding the use of the technology have been challenging. The FAA recently green-lighted “hands-on piloting or direct observation by humans,” the Journal said.

Iterations of earlier commercial drone models were ill-equipped to transport perishable merchandise extensive distances. Further, the technology was previously too pricey to consider its commercial viability.

Pizza Hut Israel’s president, Udi Shamai, told the WSJ that delivery by drones will let it service 7,000 additional households that normally would not have access to delivery.

In separate news, Yariv Bash, CEO and co-founder of drone delivery startup Flytrex, said in an interview with PYMNTS that delivery is going to be the next “killer” app. Headquartered in North Carolina, Flytrex aims to train personnel needed to remotely guide drones that are not fully autonomous.

Pizza has been a popular takeout choice among consumers during the pandemic, with Papa John’s, for example, announcing in September its largest “North American traditional store development agreement in more than two decades.”

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