Amazon has grabbed headlines with its plans to deliver packages via drone, but 7-Eleven says it got there first this week with the first fully autonomous, FAA-approved drone delivery to a customer’s home. The retailer worked with drone delivery company Flirtey to deliver two packages from a store in Reno. Nev. — depositing Slurpee drinks, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and 7-Select candy in a customer’s backyard.
“This delivery is the first time a U.S. customer has received a package to their home via drone, representing a historic milestone in both U.S. and global commerce,” says 7-Eleven in a news release announcing the accomplishment.
No, this is not an April Fool’s joke, or an Onion article. Watch the video below to see one of the deliveries taking place.
Here’s how it worked, according to 7-Eleven: “At a Reno, Nevada 7‑Eleven store, two deliveries were successfully completed. 7‑Eleven merchandise – including hot and cold food items – were loaded into a unique Flirtey drone delivery container and flown autonomously using precision GPS to a local customer’s house. Once at the family’s backyard, the Flirtey drone hovered in place and gently lowered each package. The purchases were delivered to the family in the span of a few minutes.”
7-Eleven and Flirtey say they plan to expand their drone delivery tests and continue working together.
Amazon is moving forward with plans for a major drone delivery option, despite last month’s regulatory setback. In June, the FAA issued its final rules for commercial drones, limiting them to the visual line of sight of the operator and prohibiting flights over people who are not involved in the drone operation. The regulations were a blow to Amazon, but the FAA did say that certain rules (like the line-of-sight provision) could be waived if the operation is proven to be safe.