You may soon be able to order a Slurpee without having to leave your home. Drone startup Flirtey recently partnered with convenience store chain 7-Eleven to make the first commercial delivery to a private residence in Reno, Nevada earlier this month.
The delivery took place on July 11th when Flirtey flew an autonomous drone a mile from a 7-Eleven location to a private home in Reno. According to 7-Eleven, the initial delivery included a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee, candy, and Slurpees. The goods were packaged into two containers, each of which were separately flown to the home. Once they arrived, each container was lowered to the ground and retrieved by the homeowners.
The drone flew autonomously from the store to the household, using the vehicle's GPS system to navigate. The company first selected a store from which to deliver, and surveyed customers within a one-mile radius to see if they would be willing to take part in the pilot program.
This isn't the first delivery that Flirtey has made. It was the first company to make a delivery of medical supplies in Virginia in 2015, flew water and emergency supplies to a home in Hawthrone, Nevada and completed the first shore-to-ship delivery last month. This delivery appears to be the first time that a customer has placed an order with a store and had it delivered.
Developing the infrastructure required for delivering purchases by drone to customers is a goal that many retailers have been working toward — most notably Amazon.com and Walmart. However, while the regulatory environment has begun to shift, there are still many hurdles to go before autonomous deliveries are a reality. This first experiment with 7-Eleven and Flirtey is a first tiny step toward that goal.
7-Eleven noted that it plans to continue working with the drone company, but didn’t lay out any sort of timeline for rolling out autonomous deliveries to a wider region.