Drones Will Soon Deliver Pizza: Investor

Tim Draper, a third-generation venture capitalist, says drones will soon be delivering pizzas.

The founder of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson is investing in a startup called DroneDepoy, which is building software to safely operate and manage multiple drones, according to a recent article by Bloomberg News.

“Drones hold the promise of companies anticipating our every need and delivering without human involvement,” he told the financial newswire. “Everything from pizza delivery to personal shopping can be handled by drones.”

Perhaps Draper saw this YouTube video of a drone delivering a Domino’s Pizza earlier this year in the United Kingdom. While the event was largely a publicity stunt, it highlighted the technology’s potential as unmanned systems begin to migrate from the military to the commercial market.

The U.S. military still dominates the development of next-generation drones, known in military parlance as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

Earlier this year, the Navy for the first time launched and landed a drone the size of a fighter jet aboard the deck of a moving aircraft carrier. The batwing-shaped craft, known as the X-47B, was built by the defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp.

But the commercial market is poised to explode into several-billion-dollar industry over the next decade, with potential applications in such sectors as law enforcement, agriculture, border patrol, oil and gas exploration, and maritime security.

The drone used in the Domino’s ad — nicknamed the “DomiCopter” — was made by Aerosight UAV Ltd., a U.K.-based company that sells services to capture high-definition video at altitudes of as high as 400 feet, according to its website.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t yet let drones deliver pizza. But the agency is working on a plan to integrate unmanned systems into domestic airspace by September 2015, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • platypusfriend

    Funny, I am writing software that prank-calls drone pizza delivery companies…

  • LtKitty

    Remember when we used to hunt with sticks and a rock? God those were the days…

  • BlackOwl18E

    Pizza boys everywhere are going to start crying.

  • tee

    I’ll bet Estes or one of the other Model Rocket companies will soon be producing their “Home Defense Anti Drone Model Rocket” so the home owner can protect their local air space from unwanted surveillance of their teenage daughters.

  • Mark

    For the terrorist it would end up being a “pizza and a bang.” Also since pizza is supposed to be the stakeout food of choice tv police will also get these.

  • rick

    Just imagine how many pizzas would be delivered at one time!

    • Little Bill

      Not many with that size Drone.

  • hibeam

    This is bad news for the USPS. Hopefully we can put them out of their misery very soon.

  • Jacob

    But can this drone see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?

  • Tim W

    Yep I can just see the insurance rates for these trundling down the streets of Manhattan loaded with pizza never mind the health and safety BS. The guy must be a friggin idiot.

    • FormerDirtDart

      Yeah, it’s all great marketing and brand profile until a drone with two large deluxes crash lands on some old lady’s corgi.

    • Hector Q.

      Yup, I was thinking the exact same thing.

      Even if they can work out the tech side soon, there’s the regulatory side that must be cleared up before drone delivery devices are flying above our streets. Since that involves the government, nothing will happen “soon.”

      Moreover, even if somehow all the tech and regulatory hurdles are soon cleared, there’s no way that a low value item like pizza is going to be delivered by these drones (at least not for a long while). The insurance costs and liability risks aren’t worth the relativley modest savings of getting rid of the pizza delivery guy. There would be risks; did anyone see the story a few weeks ago about a kid in NYC being killed by his remote-controlled helicoper? I can see this being used for novel, high-value applications, but probably not soon, and not for pizza.

      • FormerDirtDart

        Hell, just paying for an air vehicle with the viable tech to actually deliver something door to door, at night, you could probably afford a small fleet of delivery guys, and their cars.

  • josh . p

    I can see it now… somebody see’s a drone coming that delivers pizza and they decide they want a free pizza so they get out a nice rifle and shoot it down…. didnt cost the shooter any money at all for the pizza. Pizza might not be in the best shape after it falls with the drone though lol.

    • Big-B

      Next step the pizza-drone has to be armed for selfdefense including ecm, flares and chaff. There will be dog-fights in the sky between different pizza companies.

  • Big-B

    If it works with pizza everything else will be delivered by drones eventually. “Hello is this Walmart Flight Control? Im on my toilet and the paper is empty, im in the Examplestreet 2, 11th Floor the window is open” ;-)

  • tankjas

    No human involvement, more people out work, what a great idea!!!

  • josh.p

    I think ppl will revolt against stuff like this that would put them out of work. Also i dont think every joe blows pizza sub shop could afford a drone to deliever. They would have to pay for insurance on that thing. Plus if ppl shoots the thing out of the sky then not only will the drone be destroyed.. the pizza will be stolen as well which is more money down the drain. cheaper to have the pimpled face pizza boy to deliver it.

  • guest

    I imagine that the ambulance chasers are salivating about all the law suits once people start getting smacked in the head with this thing

  • Genious_1596

    I can do this story one better…I’m currently designing a pizza that IS a drone. A disposable motor propels it, extra large, spinning pepperonies give it loft, and a Canadian bacon tailfin directs it. It flies to a height approx 100 ft above the residence, the motor shuts off, it freefalls, and lands with a splat to give it an old-fashioned, delivery appearance…no tip required.

  • Sambo

    The drone can use its engines to cook the pizza’s as it flys to deliver its order – yes you can have that idea for free lol