Drone delivery may be the future, but in most places, that future is currently mired in a whole lot of red tape. Amazon, for instance, has had some major headaches dealing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) while trying to get its Prime Air service in the air. In Iceland, though, that’s no longer a problem. Reykjavik will be the first city to allow commercial drone delivery, New Atlas reports.
The flights will be handled by the drone company Flytrex, which is partnering with the Icelandic shopping site AHA, an all-purpose online retailer that delivers restaurant food, groceries, appliances, books, and more.
Right now, AHA delivers over land, but Iceland’s geography makes that a time-consuming process. Reykjavik’s waterways and inlets create plenty of obstacles for drivers. According to Flytrex, their mule drones can carry up to 6.5 pounds over six miles. It can’t exactly crisscross the city (Reykjavik covers 106 square miles), but the drones will supplement AHA’s other delivery methods by flying between the parts of the city separated by water. The company estimates that the drones can cut a 25-minute drive down to just four minutes, reducing delivery costs by 60 percent. Plus, the drones are electric, cutting down on gas use.
While the company claims this will be the first urban drone delivery, The Washington Post notes that other companies have performed beta tests elsewhere. Amazon has beta-tested deliveries in the UK. And in 2016, Domino’s tested pizza delivery by drone outside of Auckland, New Zealand. Chipotle has tested out burrito delivery in Virginia. But this seems to be one of the first services to go beyond beta testing and actually launch a delivery service by drone, with the full regulatory go-ahead.
Those Reykjavik take-out orders just got a whole lot more speedy. Sushi that flies through the air to arrive on your doorstep? Yes, please.
[h/t New Atlas]