7-Eleven, Not Amazon, Does First Commercial Delivery Via Drone
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a Slurpee? That must have been on the minds of people who may have glanced up at the sky in Reno, Nev. on July 11 when 7-Eleven made the first commercial drone delivery to a private residence. According to 7-Eleven, the initial delivery included a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee, candy and Slurpees. The goods were packaged into two containers, each of which were separately flown to the home. Once they arrived, each container was lowered to the ground and retrieved by the homeowners. The drone flew autonomously from the store to the household, using the vehicle's GPS system to navigate. The company first selected a store from which to deliver and surveyed customers within a one-mile radius to see if they would be willing to take part in the pilot program. 7-Eleven partnered with drone startup Flirtey, according to a press release.
Total Retail's Take: Developing the infrastructure required for delivering purchases by drone is a goal that many retailers have been working toward — most notably Amazon.com and Wal-Mart. However, while the regulatory environment has begun to shift, there are still many hurdles to go before autonomous drone deliveries are a reality. This experiment from 7-Eleven and Flirtey is the first step toward that goal.