7-Eleven makes history with consumer drone delivery
Beating Amazon.com to the punch, 7-Eleven has launched the first drone that legally delivered a package to a U.S. resident who placed an order from a retailer.
Working with Flirtey, the drone delivery company that completed the first FAA-sanctioned drone delivery in the U.S. last year, two deliveries were completed from a 7‑Eleven store to a local customer’s house in Reno, Nevada. Flown autonomously using GPS, the drone reached the house in a few minutes. Once in the family’s backyard, the drone “hovered in place and gently lowered” each package. Products included Slurpee drinks, a chicken sandwich, doughnuts, hot coffee and 7-Select candy.
“My wife and I both work and have three small children ages seven, six and one. The convenience of having access to instant, 24/7 drone delivery is priceless,” said Reno resident Michael, who received the delivery, in a statement. “It’s amazing that a flying robot just delivered us food and drinks in a matter of minutes.”
Flirtey teamed with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) to secure FAA-approval. Special flight planning, risk analysis and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were all involved.
The c-store giant doesn’t do a big online delivery business, but has partnered with Postmates in eight major cities as well as Tapingo to deliver packages to about 100 college campuses. Drone delivery tests with Flirtey and 7-Eleven will continue.
“We plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes,” said 7‑Eleven EVP and chief merchandising officer Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins. “Our customers have demanding schedules, are on-the-go 24/7 and turn to us to help navigate the challenges of their daily lives.”
In June, the FAA updated its regulations for small drones. Stipulations such as pilots needing to see the drone in their line of sight while flying essentially prohibited drone deliveries. But the FAA is expected to make another rules update in late August that could clarify the requirements for drone delivery.
- 7-Eleven Teams with Flirtey for First Ever FAA-Approved Drone Delivery to Customer’s Home – 7-Eleven
- 7-Eleven delivers by drone in Reno including, yes, Slurpees – TechCrunch
- Shopping with 7-Eleven Just Got a Lot More Convenient – 7-Eleven
- 7-Eleven and Tapingo Announce Partnership to Bring On-Demand Delivery to the College Market – 7-Eleven
- DOT and FAA Finalize Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Federal Aviation Administration
- 79% Would Take One-Hour Drone Package Delivery, 73% Would Pay For It – MediaPost
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are you more optimistic about the prospects of commercial drone delivery than a year ago? Do you see drone delivery at least gaining regulatory approval in some remote areas?