Dec 23, 2016 | By Benedict

Drone delivery company Flirtey has announced that convenience store 7-Eleven has used its drones on 77 autonomous delivery missions. The drones delivered flu medicine, hot food, and other items to customers’ homes in Reno, Nevada.

Most people think of online megastore Amazon and its futuristic Prime Air service when autonomous drone delivery is mentioned, but it now appears that Flirtey, the drone delivery company behind recent drone delivery efforts from pizza chain Domino’s, has flown ahead of the competition. The startup, which currently specializes in emergency deliveries of medical supplies and has used 3D printed parts in its unmanned aerial vehicles, recently partnered with U.S. convenience store 7-Eleven to provide a fleet of commercial drones for door-to-door delivery.

According to Flirtey, it is now the first drone service to complete regular commercial deliveries to residences in the U.S., and has already completed 77 autonomous missions since it teamed up with 7-Eleven back in July. “We have now successfully completed the first month of routine commercial drone deliveries to customer homes in partnership with 7-Eleven,” Flirtey chief executive Matthew Sweeny said in a press release. “This is a giant leap towards a future where everyone can experience the convenience of Flirtey's instant store-to-door drone delivery.”

During the month of November, drone company Flirtey conducted regular weekend deliveries from a 7-Eleven store in Reno, Nevada, servicing a dozen select customers who were able to place their order through a custom app. The interactive app provided customers with a full list of deliverable products, and also notified them when their drone was loaded, when it departed from the store, and when it would be arriving at their doorstep.

Once a customer had confirmed their order through the app, 7-Eleven products—which included hot and cold food and over-the-counter medicines—were loaded into a custom Flirtey drone delivery container and flown autonomously using precision GPS to the customer’s location. When arriving at the customer’s home, the Flirtey drone hovered in place and lowered the package. On average, customers received their packages by Flirtey less than 10 minutes from the point of order. Every single customer involved in the pilot project said they would be happy to use the service again.

Customers trying out the new 7-Eleven drone delivery service included elderly couples, working parents, and college students, all of whom reported satisfaction with the speed and convenience of the service. Popular items ordered included over-the-counter medicines, hot food, and cold drinks, with the sheer speed of the delivery service meaning that hot items remained hot and cold items remained cold over the short delivery period.

“Drone delivery is the ultimate convenience for our customers and these efforts create enormous opportunities to redefine convenience,” said 7‑Eleven EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins in a statement earlier this year. “In the future, we plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes. Our customers have demanding schedules, are on-the-go 24/7 and turn to us to help navigate the challenges of their daily lives. We look forward to working with Flirtey to deliver to our customers exactly what they need, whenever and wherever they need it.”

Flirtey and 7-Eleven are planning to expand their drone delivery operations in 2017, so watch out for grocery-packed drones in your neighborhood.

Prime Air, a rival drone delivery service operated by Amazon, completed its first commercial delivery earlier this month to a customer near Cambridge, England. That order took just 13 minutes from confirmation to delivery.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Sandra wrote at 12/27/2016 3:16:49 AM:

Has there been a change in Federal Aviation policy where this is allowed?

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