Connections In The Sky: Drone Deliveries Expand, Consumer Interest Grows

There seems to be a lot of interest in drones and it’s coming from multiple angles.

As one of the most visible objects within the Internet of Things, drones are expanding to be used for deliveries, personal use and even for taking selfies.

In retail, the pursuit to realize drone delivery as a service continues to gain momentum from major brands, new partnerships and governmental support.

In the U.S., 7-Eleven recently partnered with drone delivery company Flirtey to achieve the first ever store-to-consumer drone delivery. The convenience store giant plans to continue tests with the ultimately goal of delivering any product in its stores to customers within minutes, citing customer convenience as the driving force behind the initiative.



Amazon has also made progress for its Prime Air concept in securing a new partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority in the U.K.

With the partnership, the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will enable Amazon to explore aspects of drone flight which are not currently allowed in the U.S. by the FAA.

The retailer plans to tackle these three areas, which could play integral roles in delivering packages by drone.

  • Flying beyond the operator’s line-of-sight, specifically in rural and suburban areas
  • Testing sensors designed to identify and avoid obstacles
  • Multiple highly-automated drones operated simultaneously by one person

In addition to the convenience of delivering packages to customers within 30 minutes, drone delivery will bring value to the industry as a whole, according to Paul Misener, VP of global innovation policy and communications at Amazon.

“Using small drones for the delivery of parcels will improve customer experience, create new jobs in a rapidly growing industry, and pioneer new sustainable delivery methods to meet future demand,” Misener said.

“The U.K. is charting a path forward for drone technology that will benefit consumers, industry and society.”

Retail aside, consumers also seem to be interested in using drones, according to recent research.

A new study by GlobalWebIndex found that almost a third (32%) of global Internet users between 16 and 64 are interested in using drones.

Of the 34 countries surveyed, GlobalWebIndex found Mexico to have the most (47%) consumers interested in using drones and the Netherlands had the least (14%).

Here is the breakdown of interest by region:

  • 40% -- Latin America
  • 35% -- Asia Pacific
  • 35% -- Middle East and Africa
  • 27% -- Europe
  • 25% -- North America

Another indication of such interest is the more than 250,000 pre-orders placed for soon-to-be-released flying facial recognition camera ROAM-e. That drone is specifically being created so consumers can take selfies, without having to hold their phone at arms’ length.



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