AUTHOR: Kyle Field
PUBLISHED | May 15, 2018
Drone delivery service provider Flytrex aims to slash last mile delivery emissions with its fully-electric drone delivery service. Flytrex CEO and Co-founder Yariv Bash built the solution because he saw the potential for fully electric drones to be used in dense urban environments to deliver packages and food to customers at a lower cost than conventional vehicles while also taking a bite out of last-mile delivery pollution and traffic congestion. Compared to their internal combustion counterparts, the drones are nearly silent, and as battery electric vehicles, generate zero emissions at the point of use, making them ideal solutions for lightweight, short distance deliveries.
The current generation of drones can carry anything up to 3kgs | 6.5lbs — stats that Yarive expects to improve over time, allowing his electric minions to carry more weight and travel longer distances. He envisions a future where drones buzz silently around cities, handing a wide variety of courier, food and package deliveries.
Stretching beyond the base solution, Yariv sees a place for drones to be used for deliveries of critical medical supplies into regions where it would be dangerous for a human to go — like war zones or along dangerous supply routes where drones can easily fly out of range of danger.
The Flytrex team recently received official permission to fly and land in multiple locations around Reykjavík and has already flown more than 200 flights as part of a pilot. Today, the solution is being run with just two drones, with plans underway to scale up to 6 drones, which will allow them to expand the solution to more locations in Iceland.
They currently estimate a delivery time of just 4 minutes, compared to 25 minutes for traditional delivery solutions, which allows for a significantly improved customer experience for time critical deliveries like food and beverage. This improvement comes along with a 60% reduction in the cost per delivery, driven by the much lower cost of the vehicles being used for delivery, lower cost of fuel (renewable electricity vs imported diesel), and lower maintenance costs.
For the pilot, the drones fly 50 feet | 16 meters over the delivery location and lowers the cargo down to the ground with a cable, which eliminates the need to navigate the much more complex ground landscape while also keeping the high speed rotors safely overhead.
Flytrex is also running a small pilot in Panama for food delivery with a number of other pilots in the works as potential customers line up to vet the solution with several in the United States and one in the EU being finalized. The regulatory landscape is perhaps the largest single hurdle at present, with each country, state and city often having their own set of regulations governing the space at different levels.
Looking into the future, Yariv and the team at Flytrex have plans to continue to scale the solution to more locations around the world and to continue to prove out the benefits of the solution in production environments.
It recently announced that it has been tapped to participate in a FAA pilot program that will bring its innovative food delivery drone technology to the US for the first time. Yariv commented on the new pilot, noting that:
“This is a breakthrough moment for drone deliveries, the start of an exciting new era. Commercial drones represent a far safer, cheaper, faster and eco-friendly mode of transportation than existing delivery options, and this stamp of approval from the FAA is an invaluable stepping stone to getting widespread drone delivery off the ground. The success of this pilot will no doubt result in more locations embracing drone technology worldwide.”
Source: Clean Technica