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23 Jun, 2014 17:33

Your drone arrived! Russian pizzeria launches unmanned delivery

Pizza delivery will never be the same for a northern Russian city. From now on, drones will be delivering pizza to Syktyvkar residents, where a restaurant is rolling out a new service.

DoDo Pizza's first unmanned delivery was made on Saturday. The drone completed the order in just 30 minutes.

“Along with one Moscow-based company we have conducted the first in the world commercial delivery via drones. Until now many similar variants have been shown on videos, but we tried to deliver real pizza to real customers, and we succeeded,” CEO of Dodo Pizza Fyodor Ovchinnikov told Itar-Tass news agency.

To make sure that pizza does not fall in wrong hand, the helicopter drone is equipped with built-in GPS and video cameras that are monitored by the restaurant's manager, who gives customers a phone call at the time of delivery.

As the manager sees a customer come outside to accept delivery, the pizza is lowered to him using a cable. The drone does not come lower than 20 meters above the ground, so that people could not steal it. If someone tries to pull on the cable, the drone triggers an emergency anti-theft mechanism releasing the cable, and the drone will fly away.

Since drones are not equipped to accept cash or cards, orders should be complete online or by phone and paid with a credit card at the time the order is placed.

The pizza-drone is able to deliver up to 5kg of weight at speeds of up to 40km/hr (24.8 miles/hr), according to the Russian company CopterExpress that developed the chopper drone. Also, according to the CopterExpress website, the price for the drone is not sky-high, starting from 500 rubles (less than $15).

On the first day of drone operation, the service earned DoDo Pizza 3,500 rubles (about $100), but the chief manager plans to continue the service. By the end of summer, Dodo Pizza’s CEO plans drones will be delivering pizza to several spots around Syktyvkar as well as to beaches and other public places.

The restaurant has been working hard to make its delivery the fastest in the city. If it cannot complete an order within 60 minutes, the pizza will be free for a customer. It also offers a live stream video feed showing its staff making pizza in real-time.

According to Ovchinnikov, drone delivery is not only a way to minimize expenses such as gas, cars and drivers, but also to give people a show, which he hopes will positively affect his company’s image.

DoDo Pizza’s, however, is not the first pizzeria to offer drone deliveries. It follows Francesco's Pizza in Mumbai, India, which tested drone pizza deliveries in May 29. The test flight was to confirm that the drone can be used routinely in a few years, Francesco’s Pizzeria chief executive Mikhel Rajani said back then.