Mumbai pizza outlet in trouble over delivery via drone

Mumbai, May 23: Police have sought an explanation from a city-based pizza outlet for using an unmanned drone for delivery, the first such instance in India, without seeking permission from authorities as it has raised security concern.

Francesco’s Pizzeria has been asked to give its explanation in writing for using a pilot-less aerial vehicle to deliver a pizza as part of an experiment.

“We are very sensitive towards anything that flies in the sky with help of a remote control. Hence, we have written to the outlet’s administration asking them as to why it did not take permission from us before carrying out this test,” Madhukar Pandey, Additional Commissioner of Police (Central Region), under whose jurisdiction the drone was flown, told PTI today.

“We are hoping they (the outlet administration) would respond at the earliest. We will decide our next course of action after their response,” the officer added.

Police have also written to the Air Traffic Controller to find out if the outlet had taken its permission. On May 11, the outlet used an unmanned drone to execute a delivery by taking the aerial route on an experimental basis. The drone successfully delivered a pizza to a customer 1.5 km away.

When contacted, Francesco’s Pizzeria Chief Executive Mikhel Rajani said, “We will provide whatever information is sought from us. We will co-operate with police. I cannot give more details at this point of time.”

A four-rotor drone took off with the pizza from the outlet in Lower Parel area and delivered it to a high-rise building in adjacent Worli area. The eatery, which has been in operation for last two years, made a video of the delivery, and an auto engineer helped in making the flight possible.

According to sources, terror threat has been lingering over the metropolis and inputs available with police suggest militant outfits may strike using paragliding and drones.

During special occasions such as Independence Day and Republic Day, some city areas are declared ‘no-flying zones’.

In such areas, paragliding and use of remote-controlled micro-light aircraft is not allowed.