Oven-hot pizza delivered to your home by drone! Sounds like fantasy? Well, this could become a reality in Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE if tests currently under way succeed.
The technology is almost there. The only limiting factor is the cost. Obviously a pizza costing AED55 with a delivery cost of AED550 wouldn’t make sense. But the people behind the idea say the cost will over time come down to realistic levels.
Commercial and civilian use of drones for delivering products and services is growing the world over.
The ongoing Government Summit in Dubai saw the unveiling of two prototypes of the drones that could be used to deliver high value, time sensitive Government documents, identification papers and medicines.
Mohammed Al Gargawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, also announced a million-dollar prize money competition for anyone who can invent a drone for this purpose.
Dr Noah Raford, special adviser to the Office of the Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who explained the innovative product, said the battery-operated drones could cost as little as Dh4,000 and fly for up to three kilometres at 40kph and carry objects weighing up to 1.5kg.
“I have seen so many of these things in my friends’ and colleagues’ homes. A year ago when I was speaking about drones and flying vehicles, everyone thought I was crazy. Now, everyone has one in their house. There has been an exponential decrease in price and an exponential increase in usability,” he pointed out.
Dr Raford said the UAE would be able to use drones for civilian purposes, unlike in other countries where they had run into problems.
“The issues are not technical but regulatory. We have lot more freedom to design a regulatory system that is safe and responsible and achieves the 21st-century goal to deliver advanced services.”