Purdue Athletics Tests Drone Delivery for Food and Beverages


May 5, 2022

Purdue Athletics has teamed up with its hospitality partner Levy, DBK Studio, Chicago-based Valqari and USOG to pilot a drone-delivered food and beverage service at its sports and entertainment venue. The pilot program took place from April 27-30 at Alexander Field, home of Purdue Baseball.

The program involved a select fan base ordering food and beverages, with orders prepared at another on-campus athletic venue, delivered by drone, and placed in a pick-up locker for guests in an open-air space at Alexander Field. The program aimed to test the user experience, food quality, and delivery accuracy. Throughout the test, drones delivered orders of hot dogs, bottles of water, and chips to prepare and pressure-test the delivery experience for higher fan volume at future events.

“We always keep an eye toward innovation here at Purdue,” said Ken Halpin, the deputy athletics director and chief operating officer at Purdue Athletics. “This collaborative project between Levy, Valqari and our department brought an exciting new piece of event technology to Boilermaker baseball games this past weekend. We look forward to watching this area of sports and entertainment evolve and look forward to new developments in the future.”

Valqari worked with its drone partner, USOG, to create the fully autonomous drone delivery service, mapping out facilities, flight paths, menus, and pickup with Levy’s on-site hospitality team. The service featured pre-set food and beverage combo meals, which were prepared and fulfilled at Folk Field – home of Purdue Women’s Soccer – and then delivered to Alexander Field. Drones equipped with delivery boxes transported orders to Alexander Field by navigating over soccer fields of the Northwest Sports Complex, avoiding pedestrian zones and parking lots. Team members then completed each order by retrieving food and beverage from the drone delivery box and placing it into a secure pickup locker for guests to retrieve. 

Purdue said the pilot will be evaluated throughout the summer to determine future opportunities to expand service at other athletic venues and events using kitchen facilities across the campus.

For more details on Valqari and its drone mailboxes and vertiports, visit the company’s website here.

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