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RENO, Nev. — 7-Eleven Inc. continues to use technology to serve its customers in new and unique ways. This time, the convenience store chain teamed up with drone delivery service Flirtey to complete the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence.
This delivery is the first time a U.S. customer has received a package to their home via drone, representing a historic milestone, according to the companies. The delivery was conducted in celebration of 7-Eleven’s 89th birthday.
At a Reno 7-Eleven store, two deliveries were successfully completed. 7-Eleven merchandise — including hot and cold food items — was loaded into a 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. Products included Slurpee drinks, a chicken sandwich, doughnuts, hot coffee and 7-Select candy.
“My wife and I both work and have three small children ages seven, six and one. The convenience of having access to instant, 24/7 drone delivery is priceless,” said Michael, the Reno resident who received the Flirtey delivery. “It’s amazing that a flying robot just delivered us food and drinks in a matter of minutes.”
7-Eleven will not stop at this single drone test delivery. It plans to expand drone delivery tests and work closely with Flirtey, said Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. In the future, both companies expect drone packages to include everyday essentials such as batteries and sunscreen.
“Drone delivery is the ultimate convenience for our customers and these efforts create enormous opportunities to redefine convenience,” said Delgado-Jenkins. “This delivery marks the first time a retailer has worked with a drone delivery company to transport immediate consumables from store to home. In the future, we plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes. Our customers have demanding schedules, are on-the-go 24/7 and turn to us to help navigate the challenges of their daily lives. We look forward to working with Flirtey to deliver to our customers exactly what they need, whenever and wherever they need it.”
The goal of advancing drone deliveries as well as further refining Flirtey’s delivery technology and packaging were highlighted when Flirtey also teamed with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) for the delivery.
“This delivery required special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated,” said Chris Walach, director of operations for NIAS.
Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney added his company is “thrilled” to work with 7-Eleven. “This is just the first step in our collaboration with 7-Eleven,” he said. “Flirtey’s historic drone deliveries to date have been stepping stones to store-to-home drone delivery, and today is a giant leap toward a not-too-distant future where we are delivering you convenience on demand.”
“I congratulate Nevada-based company Flirtey on making history yet again — this time by collaborating with the world’s largest convenience retailer to complete the first store-to-home drone delivery in Reno, Nevada," added Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises and licenses 10,700 North American convenience stores.