DoorDash is testing drone delivery at a single Wendy’s location in a small Virginia town

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Your delivery of french fries could soon be flying through the sky before they reach your doorstep.

DoorDash announced on Thursday that it’s launching a drone delivery pilot program in the US, the platform’s first in the country.

But it’ll be starting with a very small test group — just one Wendy’s location in the small town of Christiansburg, Virginia.

The food will be delivered by autonomous drones from Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet that first partnered with DoorDash in 2022 to deliver food via aircraft to customers in Australia.

Starting Thursday, customers with an eligible address in Christiansburg — a town of about 23,000 people — will see a drone delivery option appear on the DoorDash app when they order from the Wendy’s location at 2355 N. Franklin Street, DoorDash said in a press release.

Then, DoorDash says, the food should be delivered to their doorstep within 30 minutes. In the fastest case, a package was delivered in just 7 minutes and 12 seconds during the testing phase, Cosimo Leipold, Head of Partnerships at Wing, told Business Insider.

Leipold said that the packaging doesn’t need to be insulated because the deliveries are so fast.

“Once an item is ready to go, a drone takes off, picks up the package using a tether and then climbs to a cruise height of about 150 feet above ground,” Leipold told BI, adding that the drone can reach speeds up to 65mph.

When it reaches its destination, the drone slows down, descends to a height of 23 feet, and gently lowers the package to the ground from a tether.

“There’s no need for a person to unclip or assist with the delivery,” Leipold added. “The drone then climbs back to cruise height and returns to a Wing facility, where it autonomously lands on a charging pad and gets ready for its next mission.”

Leipold also said that the drones’ ability to transition between airplane and helicopter modes, combined with its “winch system,” allows the drone to lower the package without spilling items like eggs or coffee.

“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,” Harrison Shih, the Senior Director of DoorDash Labs, said in the company’s press release.

Though the news marks DoorDash’s first foray into the US drone delivery market, getting goods brought to you via tiny aircraft is not entirely new to the US. Wing partnered with Walgreens in 2021 to deliver household necessities to consumers in Dallas, and Amazon began testing out drone deliveries in California and Texas in 2022.

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