Flirtey's Eagle could push delivery-by-drone into wide use
Although many companies have jumped on the delivery-drone bandwagon, Flirtey was one of the first, and remains one of the most likely to actually develop a large-scale residential drone delivery service. To that end, the firm has now unveiled its new Flirtey Eagle quadcopter.
For starters, the Eagle is claimed to be capable of flying in 95 percent of wind and weather conditions, sporting a cargo compartment that reportedly fits 75 percent of packages that are typically delivered to customers' homes. The company's goal is for the aircraft to make deliveries anywhere within a city, in less than 10 minutes.
When not in use, the drone sits in an enclosed Portal take-off and landing station – this is actually a small trailer, that occupies a single parking space at a client's business. Once someone from that business has loaded the Eagle up with a package, the drone rises out of the Portal on an elevating platform, and then takes to the air.
Guided by GPS, it proceeds to autonomously make its way to the customer's home. And although the drone effectively does fly itself, a centrally-located human operator remotely oversees its flight – along with those of up to nine other Eagles.
Once arriving at its destination, the drone doesn't attempt a landing, but instead lowers its payload down on a tether. The recipient (who has already been alerted of its arrival) then removes the package, after which the Eagle retracts its tether and flies back to the Portal. It then recharges its battery, while awaiting its next delivery.
According to Flirtey, the US Federal Aviation Administration has already granted approval for the company to conduct multi-drone delivery operations (where the one person monitors 10 Eagles at once), to conduct drone delivery flights beyond visual line of sight, and to conduct delivery flights at night.
You can see the Eagle in flight, in the video below. And should you be interested, previous proposed uses for Flirtey drones have included the delivery of textbooks, pizzas, snacks and defibrillators.