iFood obtained authorization from ANAC, Brazil’s equivalent of the F.A.A., to carry out drone-assisted food deliveries using remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) equipment in Brazil, through a partnership with Speedbird Aero.
The license for the daily commercial use of drones for food delivery obtained by iFood is unprecedented in Brazil. This kind of authorization allows the use of drones to carry out deliveries with loads of up to 2.5 kilograms within a radius of 3 kilometers, including in urban environments, as long as the safety margins established in the project are observed.
According to iFood, all drone-assisted deliveries are done by Speedbird and by professionals duly qualified to pilot the equipment – the drones used are the DLV-1 NEO model, manufactured by Speedbird, to operate commercially on routes that are beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight
The drones will only make part of the delivery route, taking the orders to a specific area for drone landings and take-offs (the droneport), where the orders will be picked up by an iFood delivery partner who will complete the route to the final destination.
Fernando Martins, head of logistics and innovation at iFood, said that the authorization by ANAC is a “historic milestone in aviation, but also in the development of human society. It is the beginning of a change that brings new ways to speed up deliveries by using transportation by air as part of a food-delivery route over congested areas.”
For Manoel Coelho, CEO and co-founder of Speedbird, ANAC’s authorization sets a precedent for expanding the use of drones and advancing unmanned aerial logistics. “The reduction of delivery times, fuel costs and pollutant emissions, and the optimization of land traffic are just some of the benefits of this in new innovation,” he said.
Drone-assisted delivery pilots started in 2020
iFood started testing drone-assisted delivery in 2020, when it got its first Experimental Flight Authorization Certificate (CAVE), for experimental flights carried out at Shopping Iguatemi in Campinas (SP). More than 300 deliveries were made through iFood.
By the end of last year, iFood performed the first tests on the delivery of meals connecting two municipalities, between Aracaju and Barra dos Coqueiros, in Sergipe. The drone covered a 2.8 kilometer route in 5 minutes and 20 seconds; the same stretch traveled by land on the ground takes between 25 and 55 minutes.