While some of the world’s largest technology and eCommerce companies work tirelessly to bring commercial drone delivery to the world, 7-Eleven, the largest worldwide convenience store chain, already has a test commercial drone delivery service up and running.
Some 77 orders placed in a month in Reno, Nevada, have received doorstep drone delivery treatment. As of now, the test deliveries have been limited to a dozen select customers living within a mile of a single store. Even so, 7-Eleven and drone maker partner Flirtey’s service marks the first regular commercial drone delivery service to fly in the U.S.
In a statement, Flirtey reported that the average drone delivery time was under 10 minutes after the order was initially placed at 7-Eleven. So far, customers have reportedly ordered food, beverages and over-the-counter medications for drone delivery.
7-Eleven, which has about 10,800 stores in North America. and around 59,500 around the world, plans to make drone delivery a widely available service option in the near future. The convenience store chain first started testing commercial drone delivery flights with Flirtey in July of this year.
Flirtey is a private company that builds and operates its own delivery drones, including creating the software to run the drones and developing proprietary packing that keeps its contents safe during the delivery service. “Flirtey is making drone delivery possible for everyone. We’re building an industry, not just a company,” Flirtey says on its website.
Earlier this month, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced plans to open its “Wing Marketplace,” an online drone delivery marketplace for food. Drone delivery under the service will come with a $6 dollar fee. The tech giant has reportedly met with Domino’s Pizza, Whole Foods, Starbucks and a number of other fast-food chains and restaurants.
Alibaba, Amazon and Facebook all have drone programs at various stages of development. Alibaba and Amazon are drone delivery competitors to Alphabet and 7-Eleven, and Facebook’s Aquila drones are part of an internet-proliferating humanitarian effort.