On-demand drone delivery service Flytrex has been granted permission to carry out missions in Reykjavik, Iceland. The flights will be delivering products from local e-commerce platform AHA.
Iceland’s rugged landscapes have made it one of the world’s foremost photography destinations. But aerial photography has recently taken a backseat in Reykjavik, where instead, drone delivery is being prioritized.
Israeli startup Flytrex has been given permission by the Icelandic Transport Authority to run autonomous missions that will drop off food and groceries from restaurants and stores in the capital.
Flytrex cutting costs and delivery times
Instead of being a door-to-door service, the Flytrex missions will begin by transporting AHA orders between two parts of north-eastern Reykjavik, separated by a large bay. Ordinarily, delivery would require a meandering twenty-minute drive along its shores. But this journey time will be shortened significantly – down to just four minutes – by taking the aerial route.
Flytrex is using a modified DJI Matrice, a hexacopter designed to be tailored to various commercial uses. It’s been fitted with a storage section and can now ferry three kilograms of beer, sushi or Icelandic delicacy fermented shark up to six miles.
Once the trial period is complete, Flytrex and AHA have confirmed their intention to open up more delivery routes and to work on a solution that will transport goods directly to customers’ backyards.
The future of retail?
The move comes at a perfect time for AHA. The retailer is experiencing rapid growth in online orders and seeking ways to navigate Iceland’s tricky landscape more efficiently.
“We’re making delivery as instant as ordering,” said Yariv Bash, CEO and co-founder of Flytrex. “We’re excited to be working with AHA to make on-demand drone delivery a reality in Reykjavik, and soon around the world. Drone-based disruption is only taking off, with Iceland as its runway.”
The delivery drones will start operations this month and each flight will be managed by trained AHA representatives.
“In the recent months there has been a tremendous increase in our online delivery orders, especially in the retail products and we are forecasting a very expedited growth in the grocery deliveries in the coming months,” said Maron Kristófersson, CEO of AHA.
“Over the last four years, we have been monitoring online delivery solution technologies around the globe, and feel that Flytrex has a smart, safe and commercially viable solution to the problem. We hope to co-operate with them not only in Iceland, but also internationally in the future.”
Serving sparsely populated locations
Although Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital city, it’s relatively small and sparsely populated compared t European counterparts. And despite a population of well under 400,000, Iceland is becoming something of a hub for technology and innovation.
These two factors have combined to make Reykjavik an ideal test location for drone deliveries. It’s also significant that the first delivery flights granted by transport authorities in Iceland are to support a local business, not an international retailer such as Amazon, which is currently testing similar technology in Cambridge, UK.
The transformative potential of drone deliveries has been highlighted again this week with news that Zipline is set to expand its drone-enabled medical deliveries to Tanzania. The Silicon Valley start-up has already saved countless lives by flying vital supplies to rural parts of Rwanda.