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DoorDash begins piloting drone deliveries in the US

DoorDash is expanding its partnership with Alphabet's Wing to bring its drone delivery pilot to the U.S., the company announced on Thursday. Select users in Christiansburg, Virginia will be able to order eligible menu items from their local Wendy's. DoorDash first launched its drone delivery pilot program in Australia in 2022, where it is now operating drone deliveries with more than 60 merchants.

DoorDash users who are near the Wendy’s located at 2355 N. Franklin Street will see the new delivery option on the checkout page. Once they select the drone option, their order will be prepared and delivered via a Wing drone within 30 minutes.

Image Credits: DoorDash

The company told TechCrunch that for a delivery to be placed via drone, an address must have a small clearing on the property, around two-meters in diameter, in order for the delivery to be set down. DoorDash notes that a driveway free of obstacles, like trees or protrusive objects, will make for a perfect delivery landing pad.

Most of Wendy's items will qualify for drone delivery, but certain items may not be eligible if they exceed volume and weight restrictions. If the order contains more than what one drone can carry, DoorDash will deploy up to three drones to deliver the order. If the order requires more than that, it will be delivered traditionally by a delivery person.

The launch of the pilot in the U.S. comes as Alphabet has been operating small-scale deliveries in Christiansburg since 2019. DoorDash plans to bring the pilot to other cities in the U.S. later this year.

"We’re optimistic about the value drone delivery will bring to our platform as we work to offer more efficient, sustainable, and convenient delivery options for consumers," said Harrison Shih, senior director of DoorDash Labs, in a press release.

Wing has partnerships with other companies in the U.S., including Walmart and Walgreens. The company has made more than 350,000 deliveries across three countries.