A since-pulled job posting seemed to imply Uber had an aggressive drone plan in mind.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated October 22, 2018
©Studio One-One/Getty Images

The idea of delivering things by drone has been a popular topic: All sorts of companies from Amazon to Domino’s have been testing the idea. But one big question remains: When will drone delivery not only be possible from a technological and legal standpoint, but also practical? UberEats—the ride-hailing service’s food delivery arm—apparently hopes to be delivering via the sky in just three years… or maybe not.

The revelation comes courtesy of a job posting on Uber’s website—though importantly, that listing has since been removed. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Uber was “seeking an operations executive who can help make delivery drones functional as soon as next year and commercially operational in multiple markets by 2021.” However, when the WSJ reached out for comment, the tech company pulled the job posting, with a spokesman telling the paper that it did “not fully reflect our program, which is still in very early days.”

The fact that Uber is interested in drone delivery is no secret. Back in May, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the company had received approval to test using drones for food delivery in San Diego. He’s even made the straightforward proclamation that “We need flying burgers.” But as the WSJ points out, if this job listing was in any way indicative of the company’s true aspirations, Uber could be hoping for a more aggressive timeline than previously imagined.

That also might explain why the posting has since been pulled. “Companies generally have been careful to avoid antagonizing regulators by publicly laying out comprehensive plans before they have even been formally submitted or gone through vetting by regulators,” the Wall Street Journal wrote. And the general consensus seems to be that the technology for drone deliveries probably isn’t the largest hurdle; government regulations are.

But at the same time, maybe this whole thing is a lot of hoopla for nothing: As anyone who has ever seen a job listing asking for 5 years of experience for an entry level position (or some sort of annoying equivalent), job postings can often be more ambitious in what they expect out of their would-be candidates than any drone program ever could be. The takeaway here might just be that the truly aggressive thinkers are in Uber’s HR department.

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