Drone Delivery Is Officially A Thing Now: 7-Eleven Drops First US-Approved Delivery Via Drone

first drone delivery legal 7-eleven faa
The first U.S. approved delivery via drone took place last week in Reno, Nevada. Getty Images

 

Delivery via drone is something we’ve all been warned was coming, but we’re not sure anyone expected to see it quite this soon. On Friday, however, under the hot Nevada sun, the first U.S.-approved drone delivery of goods to a consumer took place.

7-Eleven, an international convenience store chain often accompanied by a gas station, made history Friday as the first in flight for drone deliveries. The company, which partnered with drone startup Flirtey, delivered a chicken sandwich, hot coffee, donuts and some candy to a family in the Reno, Nevada area.

Using a special box designed for hot and cold foods, the delivery marked the first time anyone has ever received an order via drone.

"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 chief executive Matt Sweeny in a statement.

While the feat sounds relatively anticlimactic, there was actually quite a bit of planning that went into this first drone delivery. According to director of operations for the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) Chris Walach, “This delivery required special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated.”

According to Fortune, two separate flights were used to deliver all of the items the family ordered. To complete the order, the drone flew autonomously for one mile from the 7-Eleven to the family’s house, using GPS as its guide.

Once the drone reached the house, it hovered over the yard as a container with the items was lowered down from the drone via rope.

While 7-Eleven was encouraged by the success of its first delivery and has plans to continue working with Flirty in the future, the company did not provide estimated dates for when drone deliveries might become a widespread option.

Several companies over the last year have shown interest in the drone delivery space, among which are Amazon and Google. Drone regulation by the Federal Aviation Administration, however, have made it difficult to test delivery drones, forcing much of the testing to take place off American soil in countries like the Netherlands and Canada.

The interest in drones and their many uses, however, is not fading. The FAA has been hard at work to produce new rules and regulations geared towards commercial drones. The latest of these regulations are due to take effect in August. Among the guidelines are rules about times of day and locations where drones can be flown. These rules will play a large role in determining if drone deliveries on a massive scale will ever be a practical solution for retailers.

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