Flirtey, a drone delivery startup is launching a point-to-point drone delivery using commercial drones. This will work with a separate software platform to automate home deliveries. Reno, a Navada based company, has been operating as part of the FAA’s Drone Integration Pilot Program. The company completed its first FAA-approved drone delivery in 2015, alongside a portal for dispatching Eagle drones to delivery targets.
However, in the beginning, Flirtey didn’t provide specific information about the range and the payload capacity of the Eagle drone. Later on, a target of ten-minute delivery with a focus on smaller packages was announced by the CEO and co-founder Matthew Sweeny. This is similar to Amazon’s drone project except that the logistics giant is targeting a 30-minute delivery window according to its FAA filings.
“We’ve developed the Eagle to deliver over 75 percent of the orders that our customers currently deliver in customer homes,” Sweeny said during the product unveiling. “So when you think about the magnitude of that market opportunity — eight billion packages delivered every year in the United States, more than a hundred billion dollar market … will the capacity of this technology increase over time? Yes, but there is a huge market that’s immediately serviceable with our technology.”
Flirtey can dispatch delivery drones 24/7
According to Sweeny, last-mile delivery accounts for 53 percent of total delivery costs. Flirtey prefers door to door deliveries rather than operating under the “hub-and-spoke” model used by various logistics companies. “The traditional logistics companies operate on a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model where if you buy something online, it gets flown or driven from a distribution center, usually to a local office and then to your home. The consequence of this model is that delivery is often next day or later,” Sweeny said. “What drone delivery enables is true point-to-point operation where the moment you buy something online, it can then get delivered from the nearest store to your door.”
Flirtey raised $16 million in 2017 through a startup accelerator Y Combinator. Gradually, with Eagle coming up, Portal and software platform, Flirtey is now fundraising in order to continue its test in Reno with sights set on scaling nationwide beginning next year. Flirtey’s current regulatory approvals include approval to conduct multi-drone delivery operations, enabling a single remote pilot to simultaneously oversee ten Flirtey drones. Furthermore, it also has the approval to conduct drone delivery flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Furthermore, the company has won approval to conduct drone deliveries at night, making drone delivery accessible 24/7.