Last week delivery drone service Flirtey delivered an iced slurpee, a chicken sandwich, hot coffee and donuts to a customer. After partnering with the biggest convenience chain in the world, 7-Eleven, the store-to-home delivery drone made history.
With America in the midst of a heat-wave, the prospect of a drone-delivered slurpee would be welcomed by many. This was the first step in making the technology as easy and convenient as we currently order pizzas. Flirtey were one of the first commercial operators to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US.
The delivery happened in Reno, Nevada and the products were delivered in a specially designed container that can keep items hot and cold as required.
When you think about why the prospect of drone-delivered food could be an improvement on our current options, the speed of delivery is a clear winner. With an ability to fly line of sight from the store to the destination, you get to avoid road congestion and reduce delivery time. With an increased convenience, theory is, more people would buy products, more often, from those stores that offer the deliver option.
There are still big technical issues to overcome before drone delivery becomes a day-to-day reality. The first is weather. Drones suck at flying in strong winds and many aren’t waterproof. These are likely to be overcome with larger, more stable drones, with more props that are capable of countering stronger wind speeds and maintain the stability necessary to deliver the goods safely.
The other issue is battery life. For much the same reason we’re still unhappy with battery life in our phones and laptops, drones still rely on lithium-ion which right now, only offers drones around 30 minutes of flight time. This means a business would need to replace the drone battery between flights.
We first brought you news of Flirtey when they worked with Fastway Couriers to deliver packages in New Zealand, so seeing the drone startup reach milestones in America is an impressive progression for the business and shows a real maturation of the drone industry.
Chief marketing officer of 7-Eleven, Jesus Delgado-Jenkins said,
“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.”
Read more at: http://phys.org