What Do People Get Delivered? New Data from Flytrex Reveals U.S. Drone Delivery Trends
BY Zacc Dukowitz23 February 2022
Drone delivery company Flytrex recently released a report highlighting interesting facts from the deliveries it made in 2021.
Called the 2021 Yardstick, the report shares standout data from the 10,000+ drone deliveries the company made in North Carolina last year.
Some standout data points? The top three items delivered in 2021 were chicken sandwiches, cookie custard sandwiches, and boneless wings meals, and the average time for each delivery was just three minutes.
2021 Drone Delivery Data
The data in Flytrex’s report comes from Flytrex’s drone delivery programs in the towns of Fayetteville, Raeford, and Holly Springs, all located in North Carolina.
Fayetteville was the first city where Flytrex was given permission to conduct deliveries, starting back in September of 2020. Raeford was added after that, and Holly Springs was added in October of 2021.
Here are the big takeaways from Flytrex’s report on its 2021 drone deliveries:
- Total deliveries made. Flytrex made over 12,000 drone deliveries last year—the most business-to-consumer deliveries by any drone delivery company in the U.S., according to Flytrex.
- Most common item ordered. Burgers are the most common thing ordered, making up 27% of all drone deliveries.
- Top three packaged items. These were popcorn, toothpaste, and crackers.
- Fastest drone delivery. Just one minute and forty-two seconds!
- Average transport time. Three minutes.
- Busiest night. New Year’s Eve was a standout night for Flytrex, with deliveries ordered every 6.5 minutes and three drones in the sky at the same time working to fill them.
About Flytrex’s Drone Deliveries
Israeli-based Flytrex first made a name for itself in the drone industry by launching actual drone delivery programs while other companies were still just talking about it.
Its first delivery program was in Reykjavik, Iceland (it looks like that program has since closed—the Flytrex website says the company now only makes deliveries in the U.S.).
Flytrex has taken a novel route to drone delivery, limiting its routes to those that can be made within the pilot’s visual line of sight. While this approach means the company can’t fly the longer distances required of BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) routes, it also means the company was able to launch and scale delivery efforts much more quickly than competitors.
Flytrex has been testing drone delivery in the U.S. for several years, first as a partner in the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP), and more recently as a partner in the FAA’s BEYOND program, which sprang out of the testing done with the IPP.
Here are some quick stats about Flytrex’s drone delivery work in the U.S.:
- Where does Flytrex operate? Fayetteville, Raeford, and Holly Springs, N.C.
- How much can one of Flytrex’s drones carry for a delivery? 6.6 pounds (3.3 kg).
- How do you order a delivery with Flytrex? Using their app, which you can find here for Apple’s App Store and here for Google’s Google Play (assuming you’re in an area where Flytrex delivers).
- Who pilots Flytrex drones? The drones are actually flown autonomously, with a Part 107-certified pilot overseeing each mission.
- Which companies are already partnered with Flytrex? Chili’s, Walmart, Papa John’s, and several local partners.
Flytrex’s Plans for 2022 and Beyond
Flytrex expanded its U.S. drone delivery operations extensively in 2021, growing from just one location in Fayetteville, N.C. to include two more cities in the state over the course of the year.
And it’s poised to grow even more this year.
Toward the end of 2021, the company raised $40 million in a Series C funding round to support its expansion in the U.S., bringing its total amount raised to $60 million.
A notable investor in the Series C was a man named Lukasz Gadowski, the founder and chairman of a global online food delivery company named Delivery Hero. The investment indicates that Gadowski, who certainly knows something about food delivery, sees a promising future in Flytrex.
In North Carolina, Flytrex is currently approved by the FAA to fly one nautical mile. The company has designed its own delivery drones, which have a range of three miles, and is working to secure approval to use this full range.
We estimate that we’ll have national approval by the first half of next year. We are in the process with the FAA, which we started more than a year ago.
– Yariv Bash, Co-Founder and CEO of Flytrex
The path Flytrex is taking to get that approval is to have its drones recognized by the FAA as commercial aircraft—the company says that it’s producing “commercial airplanes, not drones.” According to Flytrex, this designation will give it greater flexibility in how its drones can be used, and how deliveries can be made.
This approval path sounds basically the same as that already taken by UPS’ Flight Forward, Amazon’s Prime Air, and Google’s Wing, all of which have secured Part 135 certificates, allowing them to be recognized as small drone airlines.