The phrase “when pigs fly” refers to some sort of theoretically possible, but realistically unfeasible, future situation. But while pigs remain rooted to terra firma, this week beef bowls flew in Japan.
On Thursday, Yoshinoya completed a drone delivery of its flagship dish, the gyudon/beef bowl. The airlifted lunches flew through the skies of the city of Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture.
▼ Video of the delivery
The drone’s 5.2-kilometer course took it over Yokosuka’s adjacent bay and an empty high school athletic field, carrying its cargo from a mobile-kitchen Yoshinoya food truck to the roof of Yokosuka City Hospital. While Yokosuka is a fairly developed city, the hospital is in a part of town with few nearby restaurants, and its cafeteria is operating at a reduced capacity during the pandemic. Delivery via drone, which took just 10 minutes, allowed medical staff who were craving Yoshinoya beef bowls to enjoy a hot, meaty meal with more freshly cooked flavor than what land-based delivery options allow.
The delivery was a joint effort between Yoshinoya, food delivery service Demae-can (whose smartphone ordering app hospital staff used to place their orders), drone design company Aeronext, and IT firm Access. While the companies didn’t mention the maximum payload of the drone, the video shows it transporting four beef bowls without any problems, not even minor spillage of their contents in flight.
The system could also be useful in Yoshinoya’s disaster relief efforts, if victims in areas inaccessible by roads need food.
Yoshinoya isn’t adding drone delivery to its permanent service options just yet, however, as this was primarily a concept/feasibility check for the idea itself. They showed that it can be done, though, and it looks like the days when beef bowls fly may come sooner than the days when pigs fly.
Sources: PR Times, NHK News Web
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