North West | Retail, FMCG | Technology & innovation

In northwest Russia, pizzas get delivered by drone

17 Jul '14
The Russian pizzeria chain Dodo Pizza and Copter Express, an air transportation company delivering small cargo, delivered pizzas by drone earlier this summer, for the first time in Russias history. Both operate in Syktyvkar, in the Republic of Komi, some 1,000 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

The company used a specially designed drone to deliver prepared pizza directly to a public park. When it reached its destination, the remotely controlled drone hovered and lowered the box on a rope before dozens of spectators who took pictures and videos with their smartphones, reported East-West Digital News, the first all English-language online resource dedicated to Russian digital industries.

On the ground, the box was not received by customers, however, but by a project representative in a special uniform and protective helmet. He was connected to the base by walkie-talkie and oversaw the lowering of the box; then he used an iPad app to collect money from the customers, using cash or bank cards.

Dodo Pizzas innovation is part of an original business plan: instead of delivering pizza to a customer who has pre-ordered it, it is choosing sites frequented by a large number of people, such as universities, beaches and parks. A drone and an employee in special gear who intercepts a box sailing through the air are a touch of real-time showmanship, which will attract customers, the company claims.

Dodo Pizzas partner in the delivery drone project was Copter Express, which took care of the technical aspects. Its engineers created pizza boxes, which are special air cases with flaps, and a device to lower them.

The endeavor is not entirely flawless, though. It has not been endorsed by local authoritiesthat is the problem.

The pizzeria is now facing fines of up $5,850 for violating rules on the use of airspace, according to a source from the Syktyvkar regional office of Gosavianadzor, the federal aviation supervisory service.

In addition, the office of the Komi transportation prosecutor stated that it is investigating the illegal use of the airspace.

The innovators appear ready to face up to it. Flights by pilotless aircraft are not regulated by legislation, so its a precedent that counts right now, Dodo Pizza founder and CEO Fyodor Ovchinnikov said.
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Locations: Syktyvkar

Tags: drone (26) / pizza (2) / Dodo Pizza (0) / Copter Express (0) /

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