Flirtey‘s at it again, beating Amazon at drone delivery in the United States. Flirtey completed the first FAA-approved urban drone delivery in the United States, delivering a package that included bottled water, emergency food and a first aid kit to a residential area in Hawthorne, Nevada.
Flirtey, a Nevada-based startup, says the six-rotor drone flew along a half-mile, pre-programmed delivery route and lowered the package at a precise drop-off location. A Flirtey pilot and several visual observers were on standby during the delivery as a backup to the autonomous system, but were never needed.
“Conducting the first drone delivery in an urban setting is a major achievement, taking us closer to the day that drones make regular deliveries to your front doorstep,” said Matt Sweeny, CEO of Flirtey. “Drone delivery by Flirtey is set to save lives and change lifestyles.”
Flirtey pulled off the delivery with the help of its partner, the University of Nevada at Reno. Flirtey told Robotics Trends that it can’t release video footage of the delivery just yet as it was filmed for a 28-minute ABC documentary called Foreign Correspondent that will air in mid-April.
“This was by far one of the most successful UAS operations we ran and represents an advanced level of test and development of new UAS technology, flight planning, innovation, and mission execution by Flirtey,” said Director of Operations for the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site, Chris Walach. “The Flirtey team excelled in all aspects of safe flight operations in the National Airspace System (NAS).”
Flirtey should be a familiar name as it also carried out the first FAA-approved drone delivery in the US. Flirtey used a drone to deliver (watch below) medical supplies from an airfield to a medical clinic in Wise County, Virginia in 2015. The Flirtey drone flew three 3-minute flights and delivered 10 pounds of medicine to the clinic, showing the potential for using drones to deliver goods to remote areas. It used a custom, 3D-printed tether to lower the medicine to the ground.
“I congratulate Flirtey on successfully completing the nation’s first fully autonomous urban package delivery, and I am thrilled that Flirtey is not only testing its cutting-edge technology in Nevada, but also creating jobs through its headquarters relocation to Reno,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.
“When we first set out to target Unmanned Aerial Vehicles through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, we knew that our state had the expertise to make an FAA Test Site designation a reality, but what we really hoped to achieve was for Nevada to be the center of the commercial UAV industry – the epicenter of research and development, testing, manufacturing, and policy surrounding drones and autonomous systems.”