Drones in delivery: the future of logistics is already becoming a reality at iFood

One of the main assets of iFood it is your ability to reinvent yourself in an agile way. This way, we can test new ideas and adapt quickly to changes that never stop happening. Experimentation is the mission of our Jet Skis teams, the minds behind our disruptive innovation.

In April 2019, we launched one of our most innovative Jet Skis in recent memory. This time, the provocation was to focus on the future of logistics. When we imagine this tomorrow, it's difficult not to visualize a delivery made with the help of drones and robots.

To understand how to turn this vision into reality, we created a Jet Ski and worked with two partners: a drone manufacturer and a robot developer. Our challenge was to discover how to evolve and adapt autonomous vehicles to optimize delivery and increase logistics efficiency. And our first strategy was to monitor and study advanced robotics markets outside Brazil and benchmark the autonomous delivery model with some potential partners.

In addition to technological development, one of the biggest challenges of this type of project is the time it takes to obtain the necessary approvals from Brazilian government agencies to test innovations in public areas. After completing this stage, iFood was the first to obtain regulatory approval to test food delivery routes by drone in Latin America.

In August 2020, the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac) authorized us to operate two drone delivery routes in Campinas, one of the largest cities in the state of São Paulo. In partnership with Speedbird Aero and AL Drones. It worked: using Speedbird Aero drones, the drone completed the route in two minutes, saving eight minutes of the time expected for ground transport.

In the first half of 2021, we completed a second test operation also in Campinas, with more than 300 deliveries and participation of 20 partner restaurants. We are now prospecting other areas, with plans to start a new testing operation in the second half of the year.

In this way, we are on our way to establishing ourselves as the first foodtech in the Americas to speed up food delivery times using drones, with government approval. In the United States, for example, there has been limited testing of drone-delivered food in places like San Diego, California, but the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) final federal rules for flying drones over populated areas have only been released. released at the end of 2020.

In addition to Drones, this Jet Ski works on the development of autonomous robot ADA, named after the first female programmer – Ada Lovelace.

We will initially operate at Shopping Iguatemi Ribeirão Preto. In the second semester, the expectation is to also carry out a outdoor test operation.

Problems, learning and failures along the way are part of it, but we are moving quickly to learn and improve our Jet Skis. This is the path of innovation, and we count on its leaders, Fernando Martins, Brunna Bambini and Leilane Melo, to discover the paths. We are excited about these innovations and the idea of being one of the first in the world to master these technologies at scale.

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