Last night, I decided I wanted sushi for dinner, and my husband readily agreed. He was not home at the time, so the task of picking up our dinner fell to me. Our favorite place is only about a ten-minute drive away, but it still meant that I had to venture out of my nice, warm house and into the frozen, white, below-freezing atmosphere that is an Ohio winter. Once I finished putting on all of my winter weather gear to drive two miles and walk the short distance from my car to the restaurant and back, I felt a little like poor Randy, the kid brother in A Christmas Story who has on so many winter clothes he can’t even bend his arms. Not for the first time, I wished our sushi place delivered. If the success of the world’s leading drone delivery service Flirtey is any indication, maybe someday soon I will be able to order a tuna roll (or a pizza) and have it delivered by drone right to my door…or even better, to my second-story home office window for lunch. Then I wouldn’t have to go outside at all!
Routine commercial drone delivery looks like it may soon become a completely normal part of everyday life. Flirtey has now announced that it has successfully completed 77 autonomous drone deliveries to customers’ homes in the US, as a result of its commercial collaboration with 7-Eleven. The company is the first drone delivery service to accomplish regular commercial deliveries to customers in the US, starting with the first ever drone delivery to an urban area in March. The drone flew a pre-determined route and lowered a package filled with bottled water, a first aid kit, and emergency food supplies to a residential area in Hawthorne, Nevada. Their partnership with 7-Eleven began this July, when the two made history with the world’s first autonomous Slurpee delivery by drone to a customer’s home. This comes only a year after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permitted a first-time collaboration between Flirtey, Virginia Tech, and NASA to fly an unmanned aircraft to deliver pharmaceutical goods to a free medical clinic in West Virginia.
During the month of November, Flirtey completed regular weekend deliveries from a 7-Eleven store to a dozen customers who were pre-selected and had the opportunity to place their order through a custom app. Some of the other features of the interactive app, other than placing the order, include listing all of the items available for drone delivery (including hot and cold food and medicine), and notifying customers when the drone had been loaded with their order, when it actually left the store, and when it arrived at their door. Once 7-Eleven received an order, the merchandise was loaded into a custom Flirtey drone delivery container, and flown autonomously, with precision GPS, to the customer’s home. Upon arrival, the drone hovered in place and lowered the delivery container.
From placing an order to customers receiving their Flirtey packages, the whole process takes, on average, less than ten minutes! Customers of all ages, including college students, working parents, and elderly couples, had the opportunity to use the app and receive drone deliveries. 100% of these customers said they would continue to use the Flirtey drone delivery service as the operation expands; feedback received shows that the speed and convenience of the Flirtey deliveries are their most appealing aspects. One customer was so excited upon receiving her drone delivery that she called her family, and told them they had become “the real-life Jetsons.”
Flirtey CEO Matthew Sweeney says, “Flirtey is the world’s leader in the drone delivery industry and we have now successfully completed the first month of routine commercial drone deliveries to customer homes in partnership with 7-Eleven. While other companies in this space are shipping jobs overseas, Flirtey’s goal is to make delivery instant, and in the process create jobs at home for hardworking Americans and veterans. This is a giant leap towards a future where everyone can experience the convenience of Flirtey’s instant store-to-door drone delivery.”
Some customers did order over-the-counter medicines for delivery, like 7-Select Night Time Cold & Flu Relief and aspirin. The convenient and quick delivery of medicine is something Flirtey is focusing on, as it would be a major help to a parent who needs to buy flu medication but doesn’t want to load their sick kids into the car to drive to the pharmacy, or someone with a fever driving out to buy antibiotics. Flirtey and 7-Eleven are planning to expand their drone deliveries in the coming year.
Flirtey drones are made with carbon fiber, aluminum, and 3D printed components. The startup has a mission to save lives, and change lifestyles, by making instant delivery a reality. The company’s achievements have been widely recognized and celebrated, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum has just accepted a Flirtey drone to display next to other important historical American aircraft, like the Wright Flyer and the Space Shuttle Discovery. To see a successful Flirtey drone delivery, take a look at this video:
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