7-Eleven Delivers Hot Coffee And Doughnuts Using A Drone

The convenience store chain said it made the "first ever FAA-approved drone delivery" to a U.S. customer

A drone sits in a paddock. — REUTERS
Jul 24, 2016 at 10:35 AM ET

7-Eleven says it made the “first ever FAA-approved drone delivery” to a U.S. customer when it dropped Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, hot coffee, and doughnuts in the backyard of a Nevada home.

In a statement on Friday, the retail chain said it worked with drone delivery company Flirtey to transport the items from a Reno 7-Eleven in just a few minutes. “Two deliveries were successfully completed,” the company said in a news release. “7‑Eleven merchandise—including hot and cold food items—were loaded into a unique Flirtey drone delivery container and flown autonomously using precision GPS to a local customer’s house.”

After reaching the family’s backyard, “the Flirtey drone hovered in place and gently lowered each package,” which also included 7-Select candy, the retailer said.

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The delivery indicates that 7-Eleven beat Amazon Prime Air, a drone delivery system Amazon is developing, in completing the first delivery to a customer.

In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration declared Nevada, where the delivery took place, one of six test sites for the development of unmanned aircraft systems. This month, Congress voted to extend this status until 2020. It also loosened rules on drone flights, meaning companies will be pre-approved to fly small commercial drones by August, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

“The 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 at the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, which also helped conduct the 7-Eleven delivery.