Global delivery company Foodpanda says the technology works, but regulatory issues are a barrier in some countries.
Drone Food Delivery
Credit: © Erik Tham / Alamy Stock Photo

Flying pizzas may soon become a reality in Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Thailand and Malaysia. Ralf Wenzel, CEO of Foodpanda (a global food-delivery company that works with more than half a billion restaurants) says they have the technical chops to deliver food via drone in most of their 24 participating cities. They've tested extensively in Singapore—for balance, obstacle avoidance, and battery life—and are preparing to roll out the service in the next few months.

Wenzel's goal is not just to get drones in flight, but to get delivery times down—ideally to under 20 minutes. Food-delivery competitor Deliveroo recently one-upped Foodpanda by shrinking delivery times in Hong Kong from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. But Deliveroo said it has no plans to use drones. (Amazon, the other high-profile drone-experimenter, is planning to air transport only consumer goods sold on the site—no third-party restaurants.)

If you're wondering why the U.S. is not on the short list for flying pizza (and sushi and whatever else you can order on a restaurant app), it's because we have regulatory and legal restrictions. Specifically, the United States requires permits for unmanned aircraft.

The global small-drones market is expected to be worth $10.4 billion by 2020, according to a study by Research and Markets. No mention was made of pizza's role in these figures.

[h/t to Forbes]