Published September 15, 2023 at 12:36 PM ET

A drone flying in the sky (Pexels/Winnie the Pooh

A drone delivery service, with apps to deliver medical supplies and groceries, has partnered with a major pizza chain to bring flying pizza into the future.

“You guys might see some pizza coming from the sky to a city near you,” Hover CEO Cameron Rowe told

Rowe explained that a partnership was created between Hover and Canadian pizza company Pizza Pizza, with the goal of raising the bar for food delivery (literally) to customers across the country.

“Pizza is a competitive market, so we’ve been working on how to differentiate themselves through a unique delivery technology that also creates a really fun, fresh and fun experience,” Rowe explained.

In a statement from Pizza Pizza, CEO Paul Goddard said the company is “excited about the commercial potential of drone delivery as a new channel for our customers.”

“We look forward to working alongside a last-mile leader like Hover to help write the rules of the game for environmentally and economically sustainable pizza delivery in Canada,” he added.

Rowe acknowledged that some logistical factors still need to be figured out.

“Pizza is so big, so we need to figure out how to get it on board and deliver it. There are a lot of ways to do it. We’re really excited.”

But drones have other uses too, perhaps in more dangerous situations, where deliveries range from emergency food supplies to defibrillators.

There are a range of methods Hover is using to enable autonomous drone delivery, meaning deliveries that don’t need to be remotely controlled by humans, Rowe said. Most of these methods aim to “overlay different sets of data.”

“Some of it is GPS data, some of it uses onboard cameras, some of it uses sensors, and then special additional methods that we use to combine all of that, to say, ‘I’m here downtown in the office, can we get Overseas delivery?

In many cases, Hover may have to plan routes in advance, he added.

“It’s the kind of thing we’re actively looking at to make it more efficient so that as many people as possible can have this as an option for autonomous phone delivery.”

Rowe presented his technology at the Hardware Tech and Founders Showcase, an expo in Toronto, hosted by the founder support organization Journey, on Thursday.

Standing in front of a display of his drone, which has modules that can carry up to eight pounds in flight, he talked about how the technology could help in ways beyond flying pizzas.

“We’ve been training with the RCMP and on Indigenous reserves as well,” he said, referring to the drone’s application for emergency response.

Rowe explained that Hoover drones dropped emergency supplies, such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and completed tests in search and rescue and emergency delivery situations.

“One part about these drones is that they are very modular. So we can put a thermal camera on them, as well as drone delivery equipment. So at night we will be able to see and deliver supplies.”

He said drone delivery services could be of great benefit during climate change, as extreme weather events sometimes make roads more difficult to access.

“In the same way that an airplane can fly through clouds, but the pilot may not be actively looking and seeing what’s going on, (drones) can plan paths through smog, smoke, rain, snow, and hail. There are limits, of course. If the wind speed is more than 60 miles per hour, it should stop. But it’s very rare that that actually happens. It’s not a total alternative, but there are many circumstances where this is better, and those are what we’re trying to focus on.

Rowe says the wide-ranging capabilities of drone delivery have caused some difficulties in pinpointing a specific direction.

“We already had a problem because we would lose focus. We’ve really picked up on the drone delivery aspect as we do it. We love it, and we’ve seen a lot of traction so far.”

On a personal level, as Rowe was creating this ministry, he was thinking about his loved ones.

“I thought about people like my grandparents, who are a little older,” he said. “This is something that could really benefit them.”

From pizza to emergency supplies, Rowe is excited about what the future of drone delivery holds, “on-time, lower-cost, more precise delivery to your backyard, porch or workplace.”

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