7-Eleven Drone Deliveries to Rise in 2017

A dozen lucky 7-Eleven customers have already gotten to taste the possibilities of drone food delivery in Reno, Nevada. In November 2016, these customers experienced the futuristic thrill of placing 7-Eleven orders through an app and then watching a hovering delivery drone drop off their order within 10 minutes. Next year, 7-Eleven plans to expand on such drone deliveries in partnership with a company calling itself the “Uber of drone delivery.”

That self-proclaimed “Uber of drone delivery” is not a tech giant such as Amazon or Google, but a delivery drone startup called Flirtey. The startup aims to beat its bigger rivals to the punch by working closely with regulators and large companies around the world to expand its early foothold in the drone delivery market. In the long term, Flirtey is betting that its delivery drones can deliver more convenience at a similar price point as traditional drones.

“Flirtey’s pricing is comparable to current last-mile delivery services,” says Matt Sweeney, CEO of Flirtey. “So Flirtey is a faster and more convenient service at a price point competitive with traditional delivery prices.”

The idea of making drone deliveries as cheap for customers as traditional delivery services is easier said than done. Delivery drones also face certain hurdles in making successful deliveries to customers spread across a wide delivery area on a timely schedule. For example, most smaller drones have a fairly limited range before they need to land and recharge their batteries. Delivering packages to homes or businesses surrounded by tall trees and power lines also poses its own challenge.