Carrying an order of burgers and fries to hungry golfers is not exactly the same as landing a loaded FedEx freighter. But for drone logistics company Flytrex, it’s another milestone in the advancement in last-mile delivery, despite the severe regulatory restrictions still in place.
In partnership with unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) firm, EASE Drones, Flytrex today announced the completion of a test launch of its first “fully operational golf course drone delivery system” in the United States. The deliveries took place in late August at the North Dakota-based King’s Walk Golf Course, enabling customers to order food and beverages from the clubhouse restaurant, Eagle’s Crest Bar & Grill, and have them delivered straight to the greens.
The process begins when patrons access the “Flytrex Golf” ordering app, which allows them to select the items they wish for delivery. After placing their order, the golfers must then proceed to the nearest, pre-approved UAV drop-off site. When the order is ready, a Flytex technician places the package inside the three-kilogram-capacity hexacopter drone that flies directly to the drop-off point, while customers track the progress of the UAV in real time on their mobile devices. When the drone arrives, the payload is then winched down to the ground via cable for the golfers to retrieve, and the hovering drone returns to base.
The new service, Flytrex said, is expected to cut wait times for customers, as it eliminates the need to have clubhouse staff drive out to the fairways. However, due to FAA restrictions, the drone can only operate within the line-of-sight of the operator, so payloads will have a limited range on the 7,166-yard, 18-hole course (at left).
This is not the first time Flytrex has instituted a drone-based delivery system. Last year, the company began a similar food delivery service in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik.
Yariv Bash, CEO of Flytrex, said food is just one of many products that can be carried by the firm’s UAVs. “From delivering snacks and beverages to golfers, to assisting in search and rescue operations, to performing key inspections, drones are being incorporated into all aspects of life,” he said. “This is the first of many projects we have planned in the U.S., including an FAA approved pilot in North Carolina which will take off later this year.”
Check out this video, showing the Flytrex system in action at King’s Walk: