Yesterday (Friday, July 17), the first Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) approved delivery by drone took place.
While the actual drone flight was only a mile and lasted just three minutes, Matthew Sweeny, head of the drone-delivery startup Flirtey Inc., which carried out Friday’s deliveries, said that “It was absolutely a Kitty Hawk moment”.
And I would agree.
The drone carried medications to patients in Wise County, Va. who often have to wait for days for their prescriptions.
It is hoped that the first authorized U.S. delivery could help change perceptions of drones as either playthings or weapons systems.
To read more details about the flight, you can check out this article.
I have been fascinated with drones for a while now, and believe they hold real promise for situations just like yesterday’s delivery.
While reading about yesterday’s breakthrough, I also came across this great summary article on the state of drone delivery around the world from Wired magazine back in February of this year.
The article notes that drones are being used to deliver everything from pizzas to medicine to textbooks. The story also mentions that a Philly-based dry cleaner was using drones to deliver its goods to customers, but it was shut down after a week by the FAA.
While I’m not so sure about the widespread use of drones for delivering consumer-based goods in urban and suburban areas (e.g., the Amazon model), I think there is a bright future for flights just like yesterday’s.
I wish Flirtey the best.
* photo from the Wall Street Journal