Reality verses hype for drone deliveries

When we envision a future involving drones, one of the first things that come to many people’s minds are UAVs delivering all manner of strange and wonderful things to us – either at home or on the go.

Just this year, we’ve written stories about UAVs delivering pizza, coffee, medical supplies as well as a piece regarding Uber’s plans to have a food delivery service ready by 2021. So what’s next, sex toys flown straight to your door? That idea is no less ludicrous than a recent patent filed by IBM for drones that detect when people need caffeine, fly over and offer them a hot cup of joe.

Is this all getting a little ridiculous?

It would seem to the casual observer that some of the talk surrounding drone deliveries is very far-fetched. After all, the logistics behind UAV deliveries are highly complex, not least because the laws governing whether commercial drones can fly through your neighbourhood are far from finalized. That being said, we do have a case study of one country where drone deliveries have been highly successful: Iceland.

The tiny Nordic nation, population 350,000, launched a delivery service in 2017 in collaboration with an Israeli company, Flytrex. Flytrex has delivered thousands of different types of items around Iceland including many varieties of food and electronic equipment. There are now 123,000 people in Iceland with access to drone deliveries. The drones launch from the country’s capital, Reykjavik and now fly 13 different routes. They also added a wire drop service, that allows packages to be safely dropped into people’s back gardens.

A map of Iceland, one of the few country’s in the world to have extensive drone delivery services available.

Flytrex works through people downloading an app and choosing an item to be delivered. A worker at a local shop will load the item to a Flytrex drone and the goods generally arrive at a customer’s house within minutes. Flytrex plans to launch in Holly Town Springs Town Centre in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the next couple of weeks. Customers in a three-mile radius of the mall will be able to order food from any of the 20 food outlets in the mall. The company also recently upgraded their drones and the next gen are able to carry heavier payloads and fly in rough weather conditions.

Iceland is one company where drones are able to deliver items to more than 100,000 people

As we’ve outlined above, drone deliveries are going well in Iceland but obviously, at 320 million people, the United States is a completely different kettle of fish.

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