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Mumbai pizza restaurant tests out delivery by drone

They come topped with pepperoni, chicken tikka or vegetarian. But a flying variety may soon be found on Indian pizza menus, after an outlet in Mumbai said it had successfully delivered by drone.

MUMBAI: They come topped with pepperoni, chicken tikka or vegetarian. But a flying variety may soon be found on Indian pizza menus, after an outlet in Mumbai said it had successfully delivered by drone.

Staff at Francesco's Pizzeria in south Mumbai were inspired by the news that online retail giant Amazon was planning to use unmanned drones to deliver goods, and decided to try one out as a means to beat the city's notorious traffic.

"We successfully carried out a test delivery by sending a pizza to a customer located 1.5 kilometres away from our outlet on May 11," Francesco's Pizzeria chief executive Mikhel Rajani told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

"What we have done now will be common place in the next four to five years," he said, adding that the customised four-rotor drones each cost around $2,000.

The company posted a video of the delivery on YouTube, which shows the drone carrying the pizza box over shops, cricketers and the coastline of the financial capital before landing on a high-rise rooftop.

Rajani believes the test will lead the way to a cheaper and quicker service than their usual two-wheelers can provide by road.

He said there were some snags however, such as batteries running out after eight kilometres and drones being banned from flying over security establishments.

Mumbai police said they would be seeking an explanation from the pizza firm as to why they were not informed about the test run.

"As per norms, permission must be taken for flying any such object," said Additional Police Commissioner Madhukar Pandey.

"We are very sensitive towards anything that flies in the sky with the help of remote control," he told PTI.

It is thought to be the first time a drone has found such a use in India, although the UK arm of Domino's Pizza posted a YouTube video last year showing the "Domino's DomiCopter" apparently doing a test delivery.

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