Iceland’s largest ecommerce marketplace, aha.is, has announced 13 new drone delivery routes In Reykjavik. The addition of the new routes will result in automated delivery for commercial products over half the city.
Aha.is began drone deliveries over a year ago, partnering with Israeli firm Flytrex on one route through central Reykjavik. The initial route was created to connect two areas of the city separated by a wide river, supplementing the company’s vehicle-based delivery systems while improving efficiencies.
The success of that program has led to a larger-scale rollout of automated commercial drone deliveries to residential and business customers. Drone deliveries of products ordered on the aha.is marketplace are now available along 13 additional routes in the city.
The company has also been granted special permission to move up to 700 meters from the approved route to make deliveries to a customer’s property in certain neighborhoods.
Aha CEO Maron Kristofferson credited drone deliveries with helping the company to improve the customer experience. “Today’s consumer desires almost instantaneous deliveries, almost as fast as they can click a button to order,” he said. “Expanding our drone delivery service goes a long way towards meeting those sky-high expectations.”
This spring, Flytrex was chosen by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to participate in a drone-based food-delivery program in North Carolina. The program, known as the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program, matches local government agencies with private firms to explore drone applications, and provide data that can be used to create a regulatory framework for the deployment of commercial drones.
Because the US hadn’t anticipated finalizing drone regulations and air-traffic systems until 2020, Flytrex initially expected to expand in Africa or Eastern Europe first. And while CEO Yariv Bash recognizes that Amazon will grab the largest share of drone deliveries in the states, he noted, “if we can have a fraction of the rest of the market,” it will still be a very profitable business.
Representatives from Holly Springs, NC intend to meet with Flytrex today to discuss launching food deliveries from local restaurants. Deliveries will be faster, with an average drone flight time of just three minutes; and council representative Aaron Levitt noted that using drones will help to reduce the number of vehicles on the road as well as cementing Holly Springs as an innovative, high-tech town.