One of the first proposed uses of drones was to be used as efficient deliverers of small packages and light goods. They would eliminate costs by saving on middlemen and warehousing.
They would be quicker too – drones can travel as the crow flies, directly to their destination, simply flying over any obstacles in their path. Amid the initial excitement were statements by giants such as Amazon and Wal-Mart about their intention to revolutionize the way their products were delivered.
Since the initial excitement, however, relatively little has happened. We still live in a world of warehouses, long-haul trucks, traffic jams and a dearth of parking spaces. We may, however be about to see things start to change. Not so long ago, history was made; the first retailer to customer delivery was made by a drone, using GPS technology.
There was a degree of surprise over the identity of the company to achieve this historic feat – none other than everyone’s local favorite convenience store, 7-Eleven. The delivery itself was also somewhat underwhelming for the first in a new method of delivery which is likely to revolutionize aspects of the retail sector and consumer culture around the world: a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee, candy and Slurpee drinks. They were actually two separate deliveries which took a couple of minutes – perhaps an indication of how mundane drone deliveries will be once they have achieved ubiquity.
7-Eleven actually partnered with the delivery service Flirtey, along with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems to make the delivery. Chief Merchandising Officer Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins was reported by Investopedia as saying that the company is looking forward to working with Flirtey, “wherever and whenever” their customers need it. Having shown the drone’s competence at handling both hot and cold products, it seems that the age of drone deliveries has finally begun.