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The USA/USSR space race. Carl Lewis vs. Ben Johnson in the 100 meters. 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans. There have been many amazing races throughout history. Now we can add one more to the list with a surprising victor: Amazon vs. 7-Eleven for drone delivery. Say what?
That’s right. In the race to see who would make the first delivery via drone, 7-Eleven achieved victory when it delivered Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and candy via drone to a family in Nevada. As Fortune reports:
The company partnered with drone startup Flirtey for the delivery, which the companies said was the first time a drone has legally delivered a package to a U.S. resident who placed an order from a retailer.
But the drone delivery wasn’t a casual affair.
“This delivery required special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated,” Chris Walach, the director of operations for the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), said in a statement. The NIAS is a Nevada government-backed non-profit autonomous vehicle advocacy group that helped oversee the delivery.
It took two drone flights to deliver all of the items ordered, the companies said. The drone flew autonomously for one mile from the 7-Eleven store in Reno on July 11 to the family’s house using GPS.
After the drone reached the house, it hovered above while lowering the container to the family’s backyard using a rope.
Unmanned Slurpees from the sky?