US grocer Rouses Market in Alabama to deliver grocery by drone starting this Fall

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A chain-store branch in Mobile, in Alabama state of the US, has recently announced they’re partnering with drone deliver system Deuce Drone, to deliver grocery in the locality within 30-mins.

According to a press release, Rouses Market, which operates some 65 stores along the Gulf Coast announced on July 7th, about an unnamed drone delivery pilot program in partnership with Deuce Drone, starting this Fall. The announcement comes when coronavirus cases in the US cross 3 million- the highest in the world.

According to the release, the demonstration with an Aerial Drone Delivery Interface System (ADDIS) will take place on Rouses Market on Airport Boulevard in Mobile, Alabama that will deliver to customers in 30-mins or less.

Rouses market is one of the US’s fastest-growing independent grocers with more than 7k employees across three states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

A Deuce Drone prototype. (Image via Deuce Drone)

“Drone delivery offers the fastest, safest delivery store to door. We should be able to get groceries to customers in 30 minutes or even less. Plus it’s more cost-efficient, meaning we can save customers time and money,”​  Donny Rouse, CEO of Rouses Market was quoted as saying.

Rouses Market’s pilot trial is similar to Amazon’s Prime Air facility that uses unnamed ariel vehicles (drones) to deliver products via air. Drone deliveries are said to be safer, faster, and more cost-effective options as compared to the traditional delivery system. Amazon’s venture, launched in 2016 is yet to materialize.

Impressive with a ‘but’

While drone delivery systems are impressive and are certainly cost-effective and safe for door-to-door delivery, the system has its limitations as of now. Such ariel delivery usually needs an order to be of a certain weightage in order to qualify for the on-air shipment, depending on the capacity of the drone.

Furthermore, these services are restricted to localities, typically near or around store warehouses. Amazon’s Prime Air was aimed at delivering packages on air within a 10-mile radius from the participating Amazon fulfillment center.

Well, that was the case of Amazon’s drone delivery. In the case of Rouses’ upcoming venture, it is not yet clear what the specifications of the program would be. The public announcement did not specify weight restrictions and so on. Perhaps it will be released before the program manifests. In terms of regulations, Deuce Drone says their ariel vehicles “meet or exceed Federal, State, and Local regulations and codes.”

US grocer Rouses Market in Alabama to deliver grocery by drone starting this Fall

The Spoon noted, while there is plenty of drone-based delivery, Rouses Market is probably the first to bring the system especially for groceries. And in this trying times, being able to get groceries without stepping out, and even via delivery person, is indeed a welcoming move.

In June alone, online sales of grocery in the US saw an incredible rise, touching 7.2 billion in the month itself, according to a new Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery survey.

In India, food delivery and restaurant discovery apps Zomato acquired a Lucknow-based drone delivery startup called TechEagle Innovations for an undisclosed sum, which the company CEO said was aimed at “taking baby steps towards building a tomorrow wherein users can expect a drone to deliver the food they ordered online.”

(Cover image courtesy of Deuce Drone)