Airlift: This Lucknow company is planning to deliver food using drones

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When hunger beckons, is fast food home delivery your only hope? While you might be waiting impatiently at home for the food to arrive, the ones delivering it, on most occasions are busy dodging traffic snarls. Sometimes, doing it within the prescribed time becomes a major hurdle. Keeping this in mind, one Lucknow-based food delivery website has come up with a solution — drones!

Yes, Online Kaka, “aiming to bring the delicacies of old and modern Lucknow” to its people, “within the comfort” of their homes have come up with this innovative fix. The company understands the high-paced life and value of home delivery and aims to make it as hassle free as possible.

Talking to the, Ahad Arshad, co-founder of the company revealed their plans and ways and how it’s all going to change the delivery experience reducing time by at least one-third. “It was due to the delay in order delivery that we were forced to think of delivering food in other ways. The traffic has gone from bad to worse due to the metro construction, although it will be helpful in future, currently there are a lot of traffic issues,” Arshad said in an email interview.

Arshad along with his co-partner Mohd Bilal, procured two drones from China to start their project. However, they met with a few challenges. “We did a few trial runs on our location but it was not successful in the beginning, so we made a few modifications, like increasing the lifting capacity of the drones and much more,” he revealed. “A few days back we attached a box (with eatables) with the help of a pulley under the drone, as soon as the box will touch the ground, the box will detach from the drone, leaving it for the person ordering the food.”

The ambitious project will be operational only after it receives a nod from the government of India. They had already written a letter to the District Magistrate of Lucknow to allow them to run some trials with the drone. “The Civil Aviation Ministry is also in favour of drone delivery but it is also waiting for a nod from the GOI,” Arshad stated.

If approved, Online Kaka will be the first delivery service in North India using drones. A Mumbai-based company Francesco’s Pizzeria tried doing the same in 2014, but could not go ahead after police intervened. Dominio’s UK also had tried the aerial route way back in 2013.



The delivery chain which has four hubs spread across Lucknow said, “The drone will pick up the food from the restaurant and drop it off at the nearest hub of the customer. From there, our delivery agent will take the order and deliver it to the customer’s doorstep.” Stating that it would be difficult to fly drones above streets where there are plenty of trees, it might be difficult to directly deliver food at customer’s doorstep, rather roof now. But they are still working on it. As of now, it’s going to be a two-step procedure where with the help of Google Maps API, they will deliver food directly.

The Lucknow-based start-up was started by the trio — Ahad Arshad, Mohd Bilal and Mohd Salman in 2016.

When asked if customers need to pay extra for the airborne service, he said, “Yes, the charges for drone delivery will be higher than the normal delivery charge, as the delivery time will be one-third of the average delivery time, which is 45 minutes.”

The company founded by three members Ahad Arshad, Mohd Bilal and Mohd Salman, is currently operating only in Lucknow. But with time, the trio wishes to expand in other parts of Uttar Pradesh.