Drones Are Delivering Chipotle Burritos to College Students
It's 2016, and burritos are literally falling from the sky. Or, more appropriately, being delivered via drone to students at Virginia Tech university, courtesy of Chipotle and Google's parent company, Alphabet.
The FAA-approved program, which is set to start later this month, is a just a test run from Project Wing, Alphabet's proposed drone delivery service, and will only last a few weeks. Still, the prospect of welcoming burritos from the sky must sound heavenly to college students, who are often wont to devouring Chipotle en masse.
Dave Vos, who heads Project Wing, said in a statement following the announcement: "It’s the first time that we’re actually out there delivering stuff to people who want that stuff,” which is a nice way of saying that Alphabet knows its targeted demographic pretty damn well.
As reported by Bloomberg, the drones will be flown by automation, although humans will be on standby to correct the machines' course if anything goes amiss. The drones will take off from a nearby Chipotle truck, hover over delivery destinations, and lower the food with a winch. The crux of the program will be determining whether or not the packaging can keep food warm in flight, and whether drones can navigate the skies without colliding mid-flight.
While Amazon and other retailers have been cooking up their own drone delivery schemes for some time, the real winner of the temporary program might just be Chipotle: Since last year's horrific food-borne illness outbreak — which affected college students in droves — the burrito peddler has been trying to win back millennials, using ultra chill tweets about pot-smoking and sexual positions to earn back their love. We suspect the drone program might help more.
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Sam Blum is a Staff Writer at Thrillist, and can be found on Twitter @Blumnessmonster. He's afraid of drones.