RENO, Nevada — 7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience retailer, and Flirtey, an independent drone delivery service, have completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence to advance research toward integrating drones into the National Airspace System.
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 7-Eleven store, two deliveries were successfully completed. 7-Eleven merchandise — including hot and cold food items — were loaded into a 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 the Reno resident who received the Flirtey delivery. “It’s amazing that a flying robot just delivered us food and drinks in a matter of minutes.”
“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 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.”