Brazilian food delivery company iFood partnered with Speedbird Aero to become the first company in the Americas to use drones for food delivery.
“This authorization, granted by ANAC (Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency) for daily commercial use, is unprecedented in the market and on the continent. With it, drones are free to carry out deliveries with loads of up to 2.5 kilograms within a radius of 3 kilometers, including in urban environments, maintaining safety margins established in the project,” reads iFood’s press release
Founded in 2011, the Brazilian company is one of the leaders in the food delivery industry, according to the Rio Times. The multinational enterprise has operations in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. iFood will be the first food tech company to carry out food deliveries using drones after receiving approval from Latin American regulators.
The company began testing its drone delivery process in 2020. The drones will take orders to a droneport, a specific and safe area for drone landings and takeoffs, where they will be collected by the appropriate delivery workers and transported to customers. The drones will be operated by Speedbird Aero, which has qualified professionals prepared to operate the drones safely.
iFood obtained its first Experimental Flight Authorization Certificate (CAVE) in 2020 at Campinas, Brazil, after successfully performing over 300 deliveries with more than 20 partner restaurants in the region. The Aracaju-Barra dos Coqueiros route was then tested in 2021, allowing the company to successfully complete a food delivery operation via drone between two different cities. The use of drones brought significant time savings, as it completed its trajectory in 5 minutes and 20 seconds instead of the usual 25 to 55 minutes of a land journey.
“It is a unique achievement for Brazil. This is a historic milestone in aviation, but also in the development of society. It is the beginning of a change that will speed up deliveries with the use of air transport on part of the routes,” explained Fernando Martins, Logistics and Innovation, iFood. It is undetermined when or if the company will expand its drone delivery services to the other countries in which it operates, including Mexico.