RENO, Nev. -- The tagline “Oh thank heaven for 7-Eleven” has become a reality, after a fashion. 7-Eleven is now delivering merchandise from above. Along with drone delivery service Flirtey, the convenience-store chain completed 77 autonomous drone deliveries to customers' homes in the United States in November.
The deliveries are the result of Reno, Nev.-based Flirtey and Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven’s commercial collaboration, which kicked off in July with the world’s first autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence.
- Click here to watch a video of 7-Eleven and Flirtey’s first drone delivery.
As reported in a McLane/CSP Daily News Flash, Flirtey conducted regular weekend deliveries from a Reno-area 7-Eleven store in November to a dozen select customers who used a custom app to place their orders. Along with listing all items available for delivery, the interactive app also notified customers when their drone was loaded, when it departed from the store and when it was arriving at their doorstep.
Once a customer placed an order, 7-Eleven store personnel loaded the merchandise into a custom Flirtey drone delivery container. Using precision GPS, it was flown autonomously to the customer’s house. Once at the customer’s home, the Flirtey drone hovered in place and lowered the package.
Popular items included hot food items, cold beverages and over-the-counter medicines such as 7-Select Night Time Cold & Flu Relief, 7-Select Headache Relief and aspirin. Over-the-counter medicine delivery has been a focus for Flirtey because of the convenience it offers.
In addition to these commercial deliveries, Flirtey and 7-Eleven are planning to expand their drone delivery operations in 2017, the companies said.
“Customers are on-the-go 24/7, so 7-Eleven is working with Flirtey to redefine convenience. These drone deliveries are historic, and 7-Eleven looks forward to expanding delivery services in 2017,” a 7-Eleven spokesperson told CSP Daily News.
“We have now successfully completed the first month of routine commercial drone deliveries to customer homes in partnership with 7-Eleven,” said Flirtey CEO Matthew Sweeny. “While other companies in this space are shipping jobs overseas, Flirtey’s goal is to make delivery instant and, in the process, create jobs at home for hardworking Americans and veterans. This is a giant leap towards a future where everyone can experience the convenience of Flirtey’s instant store-to-door drone delivery.”
7-Eleven is not without competition. On Dec. 7, Seattle-based Amazon made its first customer delivery by drone, carrying a package containing popcorn and a Fire TV video-streaming device several miles to a two-story farmhouse near Cambridge, England, in 13 minutes, according to a Wall Street Journal report. It calls the service Prime Air.
A video the company released last week shows a track the drone used to launch, a platform from which employees monitored takeoff and a landing pad on the customer’s lawn (click here to watch the video).
Amazon said it will expand its test in the coming months.
Flirtey said it has worked with NASA and top universities to create the technology and logistics systems for a mass-market drone delivery network. Flirtey also said it was the first company to conduct an FAA-approved delivery in the United States, the first to perform a fully autonomous drone delivery to a home and the first to launch a commercial drone delivery service.
7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises and licenses approximately 59,800 7‑Eleven stores in 17 countries, including 10,700 in North America.