Drone food delivery service is off the ground in Iceland

Starting this week, you can get your takeout meals delivered by drone — if you live in Reykjavik, that is.

The first drone-based food delivery network to serve a city took flight Wednesday in Iceland’s capital, promising to slash wait times for hungry customers by flying orders directly over an ocean inlet at the town’s center.

“Reykjavik’s unusual topography makes for circuitous routes and lots of traffic jams,” Yariv Bash, CEO of Tel Aviv-based drone supplier Flytrex, told The Post. “We’re offering the ultimate solution for delivery.”

Working in partnership with AHA — an Iceland-based, Grubhub-like online platform for restaurants and retailers — Flytrex expects its drones will cut a full 20 minutes off delivery times for takeout that’s shipped between Reykjavik’s two parts, which are separated by a large bay.

For now, the network is limited to a single route going over the bay. An AHA worker launches the takeout order at a drone hub nearer the restaurant, while another removes it at a second hub nearer the customer.

A second worker then walks or bikes the delivery to its final destination.

Next year, though, Bash said AHA customers will receive their orders from drones outfitted with wires that lower deliveries into their backyards.

Already, Flytrex says a takeout order that used to arrive after a 25-minute car ride can show up in four minutes by one of its drones.

“If you can take off 15 minutes on every delivery, you’ll take the market,” Bash said.
Flytrex’s network, Bash added, cuts the cost of a delivery by 60 percent while simultaneously easing the city’s traffic jams.

As the pilot program’s “Sushi in the Skies of Iceland” tagline suggests, the immediate emphasis is on food. But the partnership with AHA, Iceland’s largest online marketplace, aims to expand more broadly into consumer goods.

Amazon gets credit for the first commercial drone delivery — a TV-streaming stick and a bag of popcorn to a customer in Cambridge, England — in December 2016.

To Bash, though, the Amazon delivery was an isolated incident in a rural area and moved goods less than half a mile.

Bash, who admitted winning regulatory approval in Iceland was “a meticulous process,” believes authorities elsewhere are warming to drone deliveries.

“Once you demonstrate your system is safe — that you’re not using play toys on steroids, they’re happy to work with you,” he said.

Source:

http://nypost.com/2017/08/24/drone-food-delivery-service-is-off-the-ground-in-iceland/

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