Drone startup Flirtey plans to certify and expand U.S. production of its drone delivery system for last-mile logistics.
The technology includes the Flirtey Eagle drone for delivery to homes and businesses; the Flirtey Portal, a take-off and landing platform for scalable operations from storefronts; and Flirtey’s autonomous software platform for flight operations.
Flirtey said the drone technology allows small and large businesses to operate their own logistics by providing store-to-door drone delivery while reducing CO2 emissions by taking vehicles off the road and increasing overall safety of transportation systems.
"Flirtey is certifying and expanding U.S. production of delivery drones to meet growing demand,” said Matthew Sweeny, founder and CEO of Flirtey.
The drone startup has conducted more than 6,000 flights to date and last year implemented a parachute system that can safely deploy from the delivery altitude and lower packages on a tether.
Flirtey holds more than 25 patents in the U.S. and worldwide and has raised about $15 million in funding. The company is also working on completing the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification process and scaling its delivery drones in New Zealand where it already has received regulatory certification.
The company has also conducted pilot projects such as one in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (TRI Center) in Nevada for routine food deliveries.
Flirtey is just one of many startups exploring the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for delivery. While the market for drone delivery began as an experiment for how the technology might improve efficiency or convenience in logistics, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Drones are now seen as an effective method to deliver goods and packages while conforming with social distancing mandates. Additionally, drones are being used to fight the pandemic by disinfecting public spaces and spreading information about hot spots or reminding people to wear masks. As the technology is evolving quickly, many experts believe that drone delivery will be key to fighting future pandemics as well.