The drone delivery arms race being waged by the likes of Google and Amazon has a somewhat surprising new combatant: 7-Eleven.
The convenience store has partnered with a Nevada-based startup called Flirtey to “[make] the first drone delivery to a customer’s home in the U.S.,” TechCrunch reports. The maiden voyage took place earlier this month, when a custom-built drone fulfilled a customer’s order for Slurpees, coffee, doughnuts, candy, and a chicken sandwich.
(Delivering slushies in the blazing hot Nevada summer may seem like a recipe for disaster, but the delivery address was located within one mile of the store where it originated.)
7-Eleven says it plans to roll out drone delivery more widely down the road: “In the future, we plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes,” the company’s chief merchandising officer said in a press release. The timetable will largely depend on how U.S. regulations on flying drones shape up, however; TechCrunch notes that legislation passed in Congress earlier this month “requires the FAA to develop drone delivery rules.”
Delivering Slurpees and candy certainly seems like a better use of drone technology than creepily hovering over people with mistletoe; that was a holiday 2014 promotion from TGI Friday’s that went awry when one of the drones ‘attacked’ a photographer.
• 7-Eleven Delivers by Drone in Reno Including Yes, Slurpees [TechCrunch]
• Are Drones the Future of Food Delivery? [E]
• All Drone Coverage [E]