Fastway Couriers New Zealand has partnered with Australian drone startup Flirtey to trial its first drone parcel delivery. The aerial delivery took less than a quarter of the 20 minutes the delivery would usually take to complete along the two kilometre road route.
The partnership is the latest in a line of commercial trials Flirtey has undertaken in New Zealand, having previously worked with online retailer TradeMe, and with New Zealand Search and Rescue (LandSAR) to demonstrate its ability to deliver urgent medical supplies by drone.
Matthew Sweeny, CEO of Flirtey, said that the trial with Fastway Couriers was a significant moment because it was the first commercial drone delivery over a populated area in New Zealand.
“Together with companies like Fastway, we have an opportunity to offer safe and reliable technology to turn drone delivery into a reality. As the entire concept and its technology continues to evolve, the sky is the limit. We’re pioneering a future where anything a consumer orders can be delivered directly via an unmanned aerial vehicle,” he said.
Richard Thame, CEO of Fastway Couriers Australia, added that while the company doesn’t believe drones will replace its courier fleet, it’s excited about the potential of drone technology.
“We’re very impressed by the recent trial untaken by our global counterparts in New Zealand … although there’s no substitute for courier drivers, drone technology is rapidly progressing and may present future opportunities for increasing speed of delivery, particularly in traffic congested areas,” he said.
The trial is the latest in a line of big moves for Flirtey. The startup recently teamed up with NASA to execute the first drone deliveries approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on US soil in Wise, Virginia, as part of an initiative called ‘Let’s Fly Wisely’. Flirtey drones will be delivering urgent pharmaceuticals to the annual health clinic at the Wise County fairgrounds this weekend.
Sweeny told Startup Daily earlier this year that the startup has also signed a partnership with a fast food company in New Zealand to begin rolling out fast food deliveries in suburban areas.
Flirtey’s delivery drone is made of carbon fibre, aluminium, and 3D printed components. Able to deliver packages weighing over 2.5kg, it has a range of over 15km return and has built-in safety features like low battery return to safe location and auto-return home in the case of a low GPS signal or communication loss.