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Takeaway by drone

Watch out - pizza overhead! Israeli engineers are making aerial delivery a reality.

    The first urban drone delivery system, created by companies from Tel Aviv and Iceland, can carry goods over Reykjavik's river
    The first urban drone delivery system, created by companies from Tel Aviv and Iceland, can carry goods over Reykjavik's river

    Residents in Iceland’s capital are enjoying piping-hot takeaways for the first time — thanks to drones powered by Israeli technology. Reykjavik is divided by a wide river, making deliveries within the city difficult and time-consuming. But food and other small items can now be ordered for aerial delivery.

    AHA, one of Iceland’s largest eCommerce companies, has partnered with Tel Aviv-based Flytrex to run the first fully functioning drone delivery system in an urban environment.

    “The drone era is taking off the world over, and we’re proud to be playing a part in this retail revolution,” says Flytrex CEO, Yariv Bash.

    He aims to please “a new kind of consumer — one who demands real-time, click-of-a-button shopping”.

    Flytrex’s drone technology “caters precisely to this next generation of customers, helping retailers implement a cheaper, safer, greener and far faster form of delivery via the skies”.

    In the pilot project, which started in August, retailers load items for delivery into a box under the drone. Customers are directed to a place near their home where the drone can land, and within four minutes of launch are tucking in to their takeaway or smelling the flowers they ordered.

    getty images
    getty images

    “In Iceland, we’ve been able to cut delivery costs by 60 per cent and waiting times by up to 85 per cent,” says Bash, a former leader of an ongoing Israeli project to land a dishwasher-sized, unmanned spacecraft on the moon.

    Flytrex does not make the drones. It goes about the tricky business of turning existing drones into vehicles that can actually be used by companies for deliveries. It creates the apps and cloud-based systems that integrate them with a company’s ordering system, get them to the delivery point and back safely, and ensure that the customers know where to pick up their order.

    Flytrex has also piloted projects with the Ukrainian postal service and with a pharmaceutical company in Africa delivering drugs to outlying areas.

    “It’s simply a matter of time before more and more businesses and smart cities around the world embrace drone solutions,” says Bash. “The sky is quite literally the limit.”

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