Alright, we'll give them this one: Out of all of their desperate marketing campaigns of late, this one is probably Chipotle’s best.
Per Bloomberg, Chipotle will begin an experimental service at the Blacksburg, Virginia university -- Virginia Tech -- this month in collaboration with Project Wing, a unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.
What is it, you ask? Oh, just the delivery of Chipotle burritos -- via drone -- to students on the Virginia Tech campus.
The Federal Aviation Administration has given the venture the go-ahead, making this the most extensive drone test yet in the United States.
Companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart and more have all expressed interest in drone-deliveries of products, so if the test goes well, this may become a more routine delivery system.
"It’s the first time that we’re actually out there delivering stuff to people who want that stuff,” Dave Vos, who heads Project Wing, said to Bloomberg.
Essentially, Project Wing will use self-guided hybrids that are able to hover like helicopters and fly just like planes -- these hybrids will then make deliveries from a Chipotle food truck and assess the accuracy of the navigational systems, and customer response.
Using a winch, the hybrids will hover overhead and lower the food to waiting customers.
In addition to customer response, the experiment will be testing how well the airborne packaging manages to hold up -- will food still be warm and in tact?
Just in case things don’t go to plan, human pilots will be standing by to take control of the burrito-carrying hybrids if necessary. Additionally, drones are not actually allowed to fly over people (it’s a safety hazard), so participants in the trial will be shielded as an extra precaution.
“It sounds simple, but it’s not,” Vos said to Bloomberg. “There are a lot of things to work out from a safety point of view and a policy point of view.”
Luckily, there are plenty of volunteers lining up to help test out the drone-delivery service. Virginia Tech employees, students, and other recruits are all slated to help out in the trial run, Mark Blanks, the director of the partnership, told Bloomberg.
“This is the most complex delivery flight operation that I am aware of that’s occurred on U.S. soil,” Blanks said.