Flirtey, an Australian drone delivery company, successfully delivered a package to a residential location in Hawthorne, a small town with around 3,000 residents near the Army ammunition depot in Nevada. This is the company’s first urban drone delivery in the United States.
Flirtey conducted its first FAA-approved drone delivery to a rural health clinic in Virginia in July.
Six-engine multicopter delivered the package
Flirtey used a six-engine multicopter to deliver the package outside a vacant residence in Hawthorne. The package contains bottled water, emergency food and first aid kit. The delivery serves as a demonstration of what a rescue drone can bring to people during emergency situations.
According to Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney, the company programmed the drone’s delivery route using a GPS on March 10. He said the pilot and visual observers were on standby, but weren’t during the flight.
Sweeney told Popular Science, “Hawthorne is a town with deal characteristics for us, because you’ve got residential housing lots that have trees, power lines, that are perfect for research and testing precision delivery—the kinds of things you have un a regular suburban environment.”
Flirtey partnered with the University of Nevada, NASA, Virginia Tech, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), and the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site to make its first urban drone delivery possible.
A major achievement for Flirtey
Sweeney considered the drone delivery in an urban setting a major achievement, which would take Flirtey closer to making regular package deliveries to consumers on their doorsteps. He said their next step is to perform a drone delivery in a populated urban area.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval congratulated Flirtey “on successfully completing the nation’s first fully autonomous urban package delivery.”
Gov. Sandoval noted that Flirtey is not only testing its cutting-edge technology, but the company is also creating jobs in Nevada. The company is relocating its headquarters in Reno.
On the other hand, Chris Walach, director of operations, FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site, said, “This was by far one of the most successful (unmanned aircraft systems) operations we ran and represents an advanced level of test and development by Flirtey.”