Flirtey, an independent drone delivery company, successfully completed a fully autonomous FAA-approved urban drone delivery in the United States last week.
A package that included bottled water, emergency food and a first aid kit was delivered by the drone in an uninhabited residential setting in Hawthorne, Nevada.
The six-rotor drone flew itself along a pre-determined delivery route and lowered the package at a precise drop-off location. A Flirtey pilot and several visual observers were on standby during the delivery as a backup to the autonomous system, but were never needed.
The delivery follows a series of drone delivery “firsts” for Flirtey. The company conducted the first FAA-approved drone delivery last July — a series of urgent medical deliveries to a rural healthcare clinic.
Flirtey’s accomplishment was completed through a partnership with the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. The company has been working with engineers from the university-based center to perfect and evolve its drone delivery technology. The two partners are also working with NASA to develop a low-altitude air traffic management system.
Additionally, Flirtey partnered with Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site and a NASA partner for the State of Nevada.
The Hawthorne, Nevada urban delivery demonstrated that advanced drone systems allow aerial vehicles to safely navigate around buildings and deliver packages with precision within a populated area.
“This was by far one of the most successful UAS operations we ran and represents an advanced level of test and development of new UAS technology, flight planning, innovation, and mission execution by Flirtey,” said Director of Operations for the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site, Chris Walach.