- In an executive job posting that the company has since removed, Uber reportedly revealed that it aims to debut UberEats food delivery service via drone in 2021, reported The Wall Street Journal.
- When asked by the Journal about the posting, Uber removed it and said through a spokesperson that the posting "does not fully reflect our program, which is still in very early days."
- Uber has several remaining open positions listing drone experience and a FAA Drone Pilot License as a plus, but none mention the 2021 timeline.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi confirmed that the company is working toward drone-based food delivery in an on-stage interview at a conference back in May, but this report from The Wall Street Journal is the first indication of a timeline — though the retraction from Uber leaves that timeline unconfirmed.
The possibility of drone delivery by 2021 is making headlines because of the numerous technological and regulatory hurdles still in place.
President Trump signed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill earlier this month, which paved the way for drone-based delivery, mandating regulation to enable the use of drones for the delivery of consumer goods.
Meanwhile, the FAA is in the middle of administering 11 pilot programs, four of which have been successfully completed, to study the effects of drones entering the supply chain. The aerial vehicles have so far delivered a Popsicle and healthcare supplies, provided bait to capture feral hogs and performed agricultural work.
The pilots, which will help federal and local authorities generate regulations to facilitate safe commercial drone activity, have two years still to go, so a 2021 active drone delivery program would be faster than many stakeholders expect.