7-Eleven, the world's largest convenience retailer, and Flirtey, a leading independent drone delivery service, announced they have completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer's residence to advance research toward integrating drones into the National Airspace System. This delivery is the first time a U.S. customer has received a package to their home via drone, representing a historic milestone in both U.S. and global commerce. The delivery was conducted in celebration of the convenience store chain's 89th birthday.
The goal of advancing drone deliveries as well as further refining Flirtey's delivery technology and packaging were highlighted when Flirtey teamed with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) for the delivery.
"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.
At a Reno, Nevada 7-Eleven® store, two deliveries were successfully completed. 7-Eleven 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 at the family's backyard, the Flirtey drone hovered in place and gently lowered each package. The purchases were delivered to the family in the span of 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.
"My wife and I both work and have three small children ages 7, 6 and 1. The convenience of having access to instant, 24/7 drone delivery is priceless," said Reno resident Michael, who received the Flirtey delivery. "It's amazing that a flying robot just delivered us food and drinks in a matter of minutes."
The deliveries also mark Flirtey's largest commercial relationship to date and bring the drone delivery startup even closer to its vision of reinventing the delivery process for humanitarian, online retail and food delivery industries.
"We're absolutely thrilled to have 7-Eleven, the largest convenience chain in the world, embracing new technologies and working with us at Flirtey to make drone delivery a reality for customers all over the world," said Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny. "This is just the first step in our collaboration with 7-Eleven. Flirtey's historic drone deliveries to date have been stepping stones to store-to-home drone delivery, and today is a giant leap toward a not-too-distant future where we are delivering you convenience on demand."
Building on this initial collaboration, the two companies have plans to expand drone delivery tests and work closely together, according to 7-Eleven EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins.
"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."
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