The Uber-Grail of Drones

Oct 23, 2018

The Wall Street Journalrecently published an interesting report ( breaking news that Uber (privately held) ‘wants in’ on drone-driven delivery services (ostensibly for food, but who knows?). Ahead of an expected IPO next year (valued anywhere between $100bn – $140bn, but what’s $40bn between friends?) is Uber trying to ‘Amazonify’ its business model?

Companies like Google, Amazon and others have been exploring use-cases for drone tech to deliver “things” to customers, with a goal of faster service combined with lower costs –the Holy-Grail. Uber seems eager to get past the velvet rope to join this party.

Congress recently passed a 1200 page FAA Reform Act, which (briefly) addresses the issue of drones. Takeaways: (1) the proposed rules were not exhaustively debated and (2) the no-man’s land of the drone industry – already a source of confusion – has been stung with even more tentacles of uncertainty. Crucially the FAA bill did in fact pass this month, so arguing the shortcomings of the Act is no longer relevant.

Bringing us back to Uber and its nascent drone plans. The report in the WSJ was driven by an actual job listingsearching for a drone related executive – a listing which has since been removed. Uber – as it plans an IPO – is looking to expand its legacy business in favor of new areas of potential profit.

Time will tell if, how and when companies like Uber can deliver you a piping hot pizza safely via drone. But Uber’s reported foray into drone technology underscores a key point: plans on paper are far easier to realize than plans meant for the sky.

We look forward to more news on the topic and eagerly await our drone-delivered meal… courtesy of Uber!


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