foodpanda takes chickens to the sky with Ayam Penyet drone delivery

Singapore’s delivery platform foodpanda has launched pandaFly, a drone-based food delivery initiative in collaboration with ST Engineering. The launch was kickstarted by delivering an order of five packets of Ayam Penyet (“smashed” fried chicken) from Marina South Pier to PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) Vessel, located 3km off the pier, in under 10 minutes.

With the usage of drones, foodpanda aims at making long-distance deliveries better, faster and cheaper for all customers, allowing them to immediately receive their choice of food from any place. According to foodpanda, the company has shortened delivery time from 60 minutes to under 30 minutes and now, about 15 minutes, within the past five years. PandaFly is intended as a complement to its pandariders (current delivery staff). Foodpanda hopes the drones will ideally be able to pick up and delivery orders at designated collection points located islandwide where one of foodpanda’s 12,000 riders will be waiting to complete the last-mile delivery. This allows customers to expect the same familiarity of having pandariders delivering piping hot meals to their homes.

The initiative was first started in March this year, whereby foodpanda inked a partnership with ST Engineering to adapt its DroNet solution to trial the delivery of light food items over short distances of up to 3km. DroNet is an end-to-end drone network solution designed to carry out specific tasks or services autonomously in an urban environment. In the next phase following foodpanda’s latest test flight, foodpanda and ST Engineering will be looking to test drones that can fly further and for longer durations.

Luc Andreani, MD of foodpanda Singapore said delivering with drones had always been part of the company’s long-term plan. “Much more than a novelty, drone deliveries will help us deliver over longer distances faster, while keeping costs low, so that we can continue to satisfy our customers more instantaneously,” Andreani added.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Lam, deputy president of ST Engineering’s aerospace sector said that with a growing list of potential customers and collaborators which included Wilhelmsen Ships Service for shore-to-ship parcel deliveries, the company was able to make significant advancements in applying DroNet to meet real-world problems, and help end-users such as foodpanda to introduce game-changing enhancements to their operations and services.

Danny Chong, GM, COE (Innovation), POSH said there was still much work to be done to fully enable shore to ship drone delivery over longer haul distances. “POSH will continue to work with suitable partners so as to bring a taste of home to our seafarers onboard, in time to come,” Chong added.

Separately, foodpanda recently went on the hunt for a head of marketing (new vertical) and a head of marketing (food) in July. According to a LinkedIn post, the head of marketing (new vertical) would be responsible for all marketing and growth activities for shops and its grocery business pandamart. The appointed individual would also be leading a team, as well as planning marketing campaigns and branding strategies for the company.

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