DoorDash is launching drone deliveries — and there’s one big reason why the test might actually work

Huge news in the drone delivery space: DoorDash, which is the largest food delivery company in the United States with a 56% market share, has launched a drone delivery test project. And there’s one big reason why this test could prove to be far more successful than many other struggling food delivery tests out there: DoorDash is partnering with Wing, the drone delivery sibling company of Google, to actually operate the deliveries.

The test between DoorDash and Wing, for now, are contained to Logan, Australia, where Wing has already conducted a number of tests with individual restaurants. But this test is far different from those. Unlike most other Wing drone delivery tests, where customers ordered food from businesses through Wing’s app, this is the first time Wing is allowing its food to be ordered through a third-party app — in this case, DoorDash’s app.

“The partnership, a global-first for both companies, will also be the first time that Wing is integrating its drone delivery service within another marketplace, giving eligible DoorDash customers access to on-demand drone delivery by Wing,” according to a statement from Wing.

The deliveries begin this week, and customers will be able to order convenience and grocery items through it (such as snacks and pantry items). And yes, vegemite will be available to order too.

Though for now, the DoorDash drone deliveries are only available to a small number of households in the Logan area, Wing said it will gradually expanding availability in the coming months.

Here’s how it works:

  • Eligible customers will need to download and place an order via the DoorDash app (orders must be less than 1 kg to be eligible for delivery).
  • When prompted, select Drone Delivery as the delivery option.
  • Expect the food item to arrive roughly within 15 minutes (Drones flight at 110 km/h, though there is also the time needed to make the food).

Right now, delivery is contained to a small number of households in the suburbs of Berrinba, Browns Plains, Crestmead, Heritage Park, Kingston, Logan Central, Marsden, Regents Park, and Waterford West. It will eventually expand to elsewhere in Australia’s South East Queensland region.

Related read: New Wing delivery drone prototypes include design that carries 7 lb packages

For food delivery companies like DoorDash, UberEats, Grubhub and others that have been plagued by concerns over whether drivers are employees or contractors, what actual driver wages are, and how to hire enough drivers in the first place, drone delivery could be an interesting solution.

“Drone delivery can provide an excellent complement to our ground delivery services,” said Rebecca Burrows, General Manager of DoorDash. “Delivery drones create a quick, efficient delivery option for smaller orders weighing just over a kilo, and free up ground delivery services for larger deliveries that provide better compensation to drivers.”

In the future, DoorDash says smaller orders (think, a single sandwich) might more likely be handled by a drone. High-volume orders — say hefty meals with lots of drinks, or an order with multiple meals — would likely still be handled by a human driver.

“Drone delivery will provide an excellent complement to ground delivery services fulfilled by delivery riders and drivers,” according to a statement from DoorDash. “Rather than changing the volume of orders on the DoorDash platform available to delivery riders and drivers, the goal is to provide consumers with a quick, efficient and sustainable delivery option for very small orders while creating incremental order growth across the platform.”

If you’ve never tried DoorDash before, you can use this link to get $5 off your first DoorDash order — whether or not it’s delivered via drone.

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