7-Eleven and Flirtey partner for first autonomous drone delivery
Convenience store retailer 7‑Eleven and drone delivery service Flirtey announced that they completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence (July 22, 2016 company news release). According to the news release, the delivery marked the first time in the U.S. that a customer received drone delivery of a package to their home.
Check out the above video from the Flirtey YouTube channel of coverage of the event by the Good Morning America TV show.
In the delivery, Flirtey partnered with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) toward advancing drone delivery capability as well as further refining Flirtey’s delivery technology and packaging. “This delivery required special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated,” said Chris Walach, Director of Operations for NIAS.
For the test, two deliveries from a Reno, Nevada 7‑Eleven store were successfully completed. Various merchandise, including hot and cold food items, were loaded into a unique Flirtey drone delivery container and flown autonomously using precision GPS to a local customer’s house. Once the drone arrived at the customer’s backyard, the drone hovered in place and gently lowered each package. This is different from many of the other package delivery tests around the world that include the drone having to land before disengaging the package. The purchases were delivered to the customer in a few minutes. Products included Slurpee® drinks, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and 7-Select® candy. In the future, both companies expect drone packages to include “everyday essentials” such as batteries and sunscreen.
“Drone delivery is the ultimate convenience for our customers and these efforts create enormous opportunities to redefine convenience,” said Mr. Delgado-Jenkins. “This delivery marks the first time a retailer has worked with a drone delivery company to transport immediate consumables from store to home. 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.”
“I congratulate Nevada-based company Flirtey on making history yet again – this time by collaborating with the world’s largest convenience retailer to complete the first store-to-home drone delivery in Reno, Nevada,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “Through our FAA Test Site designation, Flirtey has cemented Nevada’s position as the leader in the commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) industry and I look forward to seeing them continue to grow and bring jobs to our region.”
In Australia, Flirtey, first put their package delivery drones into action in March 2015 in a trial sponsored by Trade Me, the largest online marketplace in New Zealand, where they delivered medical supplies to Land Search and Rescue.
Also, according to Flirtey, it was the first company to conduct an FAA-approved delivery in the U.S., the first to perform a fully autonomous drone delivery to a home in the U.S. and the first to conduct ship-to-shore drone delivery through a collaboration with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Shopping Paradigm Shift
Could this be the next paradigm shift in shopping and could 2017 be the year that drone package delivery service moves from test projects to a full service offering? Want something immediately? Instead of climbing into your car or walking to the store, in the near future will we be able to order it online and have it flown to us in several minutes?
Already Japan major retailers Rakuten and Aeon as well as Amazon, Walmart and now 7-Eleven are testing the service. In China, Alibaba Group’s Taobao Marketplace and in New Zealand, Trade Me have also run tests.
Below video shows information on other drone package delivery projects around the world.
Source: 7-Eleven news release