Friday, April 19, 2024

What It’s Like Getting A Burrito Delivered By Drone

On a warm September day, a reporter stood in a field and waited for a burrito to fall from the sky via burrito drone.

Jacob Demmitt isn’t delusional and (probably) wasn’t on drugs. The Roanoke Times reporter spotted Project Wing, a Google Alphabet company, testing burrito delivery drones in the skies above nearby Virginia Tech, and set out on a mission to get him some heavenly Tex-Mex food.

Millennial dreams are made of these: Beans and rice in an overstuffed airborne flour tortilla.

Turns out, there’s a bit of a markup for unnecessarily futuristic delivery systems. One carnitas burrito cost $13.73 total, including the $5.99 delivery fee. But hey, chips and guac were free — something no Chipotle-goer has ever experienced in this life or the next.

“I was told the drones are flying completely autonomously,”Demmitt writes. “There are pilots standing by just in case, but the planes know where to drop the orders by themselves if all goes according to plan.” The FAA suggests drone-pilots stay within eyesight of their tiny aircraft, which raises the question: Why not just walk the 200 yards to take the burrito from someone’s hand, instead? Because then you’d have to interact with a person, which, gross.

After seven minutes, the high-pitched hum of the drone is heard overheard. His camerawork could be in an audition reel for the next Cloverfield sequel.

The much-anticipated moment arrives, as the box gently touches down and he unboxes this beautiful food baby:

Demmitt notes that the possibilities for uses are interesting to think about, but that there are a lot of kinks still being worked out before this Chipotle gimmick takes flight fully:

At the same time, it was clear this wasn’t a real-world environment. The drones were flying back and forth to the same delivery spot, there was an entire team overseeing each order and virtually no line (at least while I was there). Imagine doing this on Virginia Tech’s nearby campus, where the drones would have to worry about running into trees, buildings and pedestrians. In the end, I wouldn’t say these experiments mark the beginning of the drone-delivery industry. Instead, it was a very well executed proof of concept.

May our skies someday be filled with burritos for all.


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