The hype around unmanned aerial vehicles, more popularly known as drones, may have died down a bit, but neither Alphabet nor Amazon are forgetting their ambitious dreams of populating the skies with such robotic delivery personnel. In fact, Google’s parent company will be conducting tests this month to bring it a step closer to that goal. But instead of jumping, or flying, directly into delivering ordered goods, Alphabet’s research arm X will instead simply try to food some lucky students and staff at Virginia Tech with what else but burritos.
OK, it might be a weird choice in grub, but given how popular burritos may be among the populace, few will probably refuse a drone bearing gifts. More than a philanthropic endeavor to keep the Virginia Tech community well fed, the deliveries are, of course, part of Alphabet’s tests to gauge their drone’s ability to automatically follow a route to deliver something, on time and in one piece.
The drones will lift off from a Chipotle Mexican Grill food truck and fly to a nearby office building inside the university campus on a pre-determined route. During the tests, the drones will be within sight of an operator, who will be ready to take control in case of an emergency. In the future, Alphabet will, of course, prefer completely automated flights, but, for now, the FAA is keeping an eye on things as well.
The experiment will also try to observe humans, particularly how receptive will be of these drones. While probably everyone wants their food still hot and more or less presentable when it gets to them, some might not take so warmly to less human couriers.
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal