Drones aren’t only for military use anymore. They now deliver hot coffee and doughnuts. That’s right, the U.S. drone delivery service Flirtey has announced that it has been sending goods on behalf of convenience store 7-Eleven.
Flirtey’s chief executive Matthew Sweeny said this week, “We have now successfully completed the first month of routine commercial drone deliveries to customer homes in partnership with 7-Eleven.” In total, there have been 77 drone deliveries to select homes on weekends in November. Items were delivered within 10 minutes on average of the order being placed.
Flirtey utilizes a specially designed shopping app which makes orders easy to place, and allows users to track their progress.
Next up? Amazon. The online marketplace site has announced the completion of its first delivery by drone, which occurred in Cambridge, England this past month. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted, “First-ever #AmazonPrimeAir customer delivery is in the books. 13 min—click to delivery.”
Amazon’s Prime Air webpage tries to convince customers that this isn’t a gimmick. One caption reads, “Is this science fiction or is this real?… One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.” Packages are required to weigh five pounds or less and can only be delivered during the day in clear weather. Yes, these are like delicate little airplanes that require optimal flying conditions.
Laws are being implemented to ensure safety practices and protect against criminal behavior. The BBC reported that the Civil Aviation Authority is seeing a rise in “near misses” between drones and airplanes. That said, The UK is striving to get important legislation passed, as is France, Sweden, and the U.S. Sweden in particular has scrapped the need for drone operators to obtain permits, if their aircraft are fitted with cameras.
The FAA in the U.S. has processed nearly 24,000 applications for drone usage for commercial purposes.
The Chinese internet retailer JD.com has their own fleet of drones flying autonomously on trips exceeding 15 miles. Domino’s Pizza is also experimenting with drones to deliver fast food across the United States.
If you’re looking to purchase your own drone, you’re in luck. They’re already starting to come down in price! Some are available for as low as $99, with free shipping.
Fast forward ten years from now and imagine all of the Amazon drones criss-crossing the skies. Actually, ten years might be too long. Let’s go with five.