Israel’s Flytrex set to supply half of Reykjavik with food by drone

Delivery service will now include a wire-drop system to deliver sushi and other takeout meals straight to customers’ backyards

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

A Flytrex drone in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Screenshot from YouTube)
A Flytrex drone in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Screenshot from YouTube)

The Israeli technology firm Flytrex, which is using drones to deliver sushi, hamburgers and beer to hungry Icelanders, said it is expanding its supply routes in the capital Reykjavik to a total of 13, from one. This will allow the Tel Aviv-based startup to service almost half of the Icelandic city with its autonomous on-demand urban drone delivery service, the firm said on Tuesday.

The delivery will continue to be in partnership with, Iceland’s largest on-demand supplier of restaurant food, with which the Israeli startup launched its first delivery route.

The upgraded service will also include an advanced “InAir” wire-drop system that will safely lower packages directly to consumers’ backyards, beginning with a limited number of addresses and expanding pending approval by property owners, the company said in a statement.

“We’re reaching new heights in Iceland,” said the CEO and co-founder of Flytrex, Yariv Bash, who is also behind a project to launch Israel’s first spacecraft to the moon.

A Flytrex drone flying over a bay in Iceland’s Reykjavik (YouTube screenshot)

“The people of Reykjavik can now order sushi or countless other consumer goods straight to their homes via drone,” he said in the statement. “The city’s citizens have come to expect instantaneous, on-demand food delivery, and now, with our direct-to-consumer wire drops, we’re bringing the drone revolution to their doorsteps. Drone-based disruption is flying high, with Iceland as its runway.”

Until now, Flytrex’s drone system has operated along one route, bridging by air two parts of the city separated by a large bay. The packages were delivered from one delivery company on one side of the bay to another on the other side of the bay, cutting delivery times from a half-hour to minutes.

Following a meticulous regulatory process with the Icelandic Transport Authority and hundreds of flights to preassigned drop-off points, the system will now be able to reach nearly half the city of Reykjavik, the statement said.

Each unmanned aerial vehicle is approved to fly up to 700 meters off its path to make backyard deliveries in select, approved neighborhoods, the statement said, and Flytrex aims to extend home deliveries to every resident in Reykjavik in the coming months.

Israel’s Flytrex is expanding the amount of drones delivery routes in Reykjavik (YouTube screenshot)

In addition to the new routes and delivery areas, the introduction of the wire-drop feature will make the deliveries even more convenient for consumers, Flytrex said.

At the drop-off point — either on their property or at a designated public location — the customer can order the drones to gently lower the package to the ground via an app, the statement said. Once the package touches down, its wire detaches from the drone, which then returns to the drone-port.

“Today’s consumer desires almost instantaneous deliveries, almost as fast as they can click a button to order,” said Maron Kristófersson, CEO of Aha. “Expanding our drone delivery service goes a long way towards meeting those sky-high expectations.”

“We will see tremendous benefits when drone deliveries become mainstream,” he added. “They provide faster delivery, are exponentially better for the environment, and each drone can replace at least 3-4 cars, reducing traffic and transport infrastructure requirements. While the service is still undergoing continual improvement, drone delivery will soon be the new normal.”

Flytrex, founded by Bash and Amit Regev, provides autonomous drone delivery systems that allow businesses, both small and large, to offer drone deliveries to customers. The startup has raised $3 million to date from mainly angel investors, according to Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit that tracks the industry.

Aha offers products from hundreds of sellers, providing deliveries to customers using both electric cars and drones.

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