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7-Eleven Beats Google, Amazon To First Commercial Drone Delivery Service In US (phys.org) 42

schwit1 quotes a report from Phys.Org: U.S. drone delivery service Flirtey on Monday announced that its self-piloting flying machines have whisked flu medicine, hot food and more from 7-Eleven convenience stores to customers' homes. The Nevada-based company boasted of being the first drone service to complete regular commercial deliveries to residences in this country, having completed 77 such autonomous missions. "We have now successfully completed the first month of routine commercial drone deliveries to customer homes in partnership with 7-Eleven," Flirtey chief executive Matthew Sweeny said in a release. "This is a giant leap towards a future where everyone can experience the convenience of Flirtey's instant store-to-door drone delivery." Flirtey said it made 77 drone deliveries to homes of select customers on weekends in November, filling orders placed using a special application.Ordered items, including food and over-the-counter medicine, were packed into special containers and flow by drones that used GPS capabilities to find addresses, according to Flirtey. Drones hovered in the air and lowered packages to the ground, on average getting items to customers within 10 minutes, the company reported.
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7-Eleven Beats Google, Amazon To First Commercial Drone Delivery Service In US

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  • Fake news! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2016 @10:13PM (#53534865)

    U.S. drone delivery service Flirtey on Monday announced that its self-piloting flying machines have whisked flu medicine, hot food and more from 7-Eleven convenience stores to customers' homes.

    I've never be able to buy anything that can be called food at 7/11. So I don't believe it.

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2016 @10:20PM (#53534889) Homepage Journal

    Once they drop the delivery to the customer, do they say in a cheerful voice "Thank you, call again!"?

  • Just looking outside my house (Toronto, Canada), there are power & telephone lines and fairly high/mature trees. Not to mention, fairly volatile weather - ie it's snowing right now, just the kind of weather I would like a CARE package from 7-11 from if I didn't have to go out to get it.

    It would be a significant challenge for a drone to be able to find a reasonable place to lower a package using it's own capabilities - trees and electrical lines randomly cover properties including driveways and backyard

    • Google Street View FTW.

      https://goo.gl/maps/s4ZytioW14... [goo.gl]

      Hint: It looks just like everywhere else.
    • I assume they manually pilot the drone using video over cell network. Still, many delivery destinations would be unacceptably hazardous, flying between power lines in a blinding snowstorm being a good example. 7-11 at least has one huge advantage over Amazon: they have way more delivery sources, much closer to the destination on average. But they have many of the same problems. This is a great PR generator for the pioneering companies, but that will change instantly to clickbait for news orgs the first time

    • Regarding power and telephone lines, most newer neighborhoods in the US have them underground. Not all neighborhoods, of course, but many. The Reno code requires underground utilities in new developments:

      --
      All new or relocated utility distribution and service facilities, including communication and cable television, shall be placed underground except surface mounted transformers located in conformance to applicable setbacks
      --

      https://www.municode.com/libra... [municode.com]

  • That being said, the recipient getting regular food deliveries from 7-Eleven will be dead soon. Amen.
  • We've been doing this since 2010, so what? All I ever saw about it was an article in the local paper.
  • 7-Eleven? This sounds like it was out of a Homer Simpson episode... (Quickie Mart of course)
  • I think stores like 7-11 make a far more realistic starting point for commercial drone delivery.

    That's because there are stores all over that are in short range of many people, that would probably gladly welcome drone delivery of small items - like a cup of coffee or a Big Gulp or a burrito.

    Amazon has a lot of warehouses around but they have a lot wider range in terms of item size and weight they may be delivering, and although they do have a lot of distribution warehouses they simply will never cover a cit

    • by geoskd ( 321194 )

      That's because there are stores all over that are in short range of many people, that would probably gladly welcome drone delivery of small items - like a cup of coffee or a Big Gulp or a burrito.

      Now They can pursue even lower standards of service: A hot cup of coffee dumped on you from 300 ft up!

    • That's going to be the real game changer, if drone delivery can be made cheap enough (and it probably can): low-value deliveries where customers are willing to pay a little extra for ultrafast delivery. Battery in your smoke detector ran out? Out of detergent or toilet paper? Feeling snacky? A quick order (or a tap on one of those Amazon buttons) and 15 minutes later the drone arrives on its resupply mission.

      Sadly this probaby won't work for "long tail" stuff like electronic components at first, whic
      • Sadly this probaby won't work for "long tail" stuff like electronic components at first, which is where it would be most valuable. Running out of a component can stall a project for days...

        Well it'll work pretty well if the part you need happens to be part of a drone that you can summon for the price of a cup of coffee... ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So now when 7-11 things come from the sky, we really can say "oh thank heaven for 7-11".

  • But what is going to happen to all those people that stand outside the doors asking for money? They can't ask the drones now...
  • I wonder, in the end, which will win out: flying drones going from a warehouse to a retail shopper's domicile, or self-driving delivery trucks (eventually manned by unloading robots that can carry your package to your door)?

    Sure, they could be combined, with trucks loaded with package-bearing drones that take off from the truck as it nears the package's destination. I wonder how the time/fuel efficiency works out, with the different ways of doing that. I imagine companies are doing simulations on that alrea

  • Since nobody else is saying it, contratulations 7-11!! I, for one, welcome our convenient new overlords!
    • If they re-implement their business to function with the efficiency 7-11 has in Japan, the overtaking will come faster than you think.

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