Google Will Actually Deliver Burritos By Drone To Some Lucky College Kids

Image courtesy of Renee Rendler-Kaplan

The eternal college conundrum: I am hungry, but too tired, busy, lazy, hungry, or hung-over to go to the place where the food I want is being sold. Why can’t lunch just appear on command and drop out of the sky?
Well, for a few weeks at Virginia Tech, it will.

Bloomberg brings us the joyous news that on-demand burritos just got one step closer to reality for all, with a test program launching this month at Virginia Tech.

Project Wing — a division of the Alphabet formerly known as Google — is partnering with Chipotle to pilot drone-based burrito delivery, and Virginia Tech has agreed to volunteer its Blacskburg campus, and the 30,000 students on it, for the experiment.

For a few weeks, self-guided drones that can both fly (like a plane) and hover (like a helicopter) will bring food from a nearby Chipotle food truck to the students on campus who order it, presumably using an app. When the drone finds the hungry co-ed, it will hover overhead and lower the desired burrito with a winch, which to be honest sounds kind of simultaneously amazing and creepy.

There is no guarantee that the food will manage to avoid plopping on your head or will arrive warm, however; part of the experiment is to test both accuracy and packaging durability. If those are sub-optimal, comedy (or tragedy, depending on your opinion of wasted carnitas) may occur.

The FAA has indeed approved the program, although there are some caveats. Drones aren’t allowed to fly over people, so participants will have to be “shielded.” And not just anyone can get instant lunch; volunteers ordering the food will be “a mix of employees, students, and possibly other recruits,” according to Bloomberg.

Still, hungry audiences have been clamoring for airdropped lunch since way back in 2013, when a couple of Yelp engineers came up with the idea and a proof-of-concept prototype. Forget flying cars; if we’re one step closer to flying tex-mex then the future is glorious indeed.

Alphabet and Chipotle Are Bringing Burrito Delivery Drones to Campus [Bloomberg]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.