“By disrupting the traditional delivery space with more efficient, cost-cutting and sustainable alternatives, local communities are also better served.“
– Yariv Bash
Learn more on: https://flytrex.com/
Yariv Bash – Co-Founder and CEO at Flytrex
How did you start with drone delivery? What was your trigger?
Drawing from our respective expertise, my co-founder Amit and I began Flytrex as a developer of “black boxes” for drones – similar to those found in commercial airlines. These boxes provided real-time geo-location data and flight path sharing. After a few years of specializing in this niche aspect of the drone industry, it became clear to us that commercial drones represent the future of numerous industries, but particularly on-demand deliveries. In a market characterized by instant gratification, consumers expect ever faster deliveries. We view drones as a key last-mile solution for both retailers and consumers. We therefore pivoted away from manufacturing black boxes and began developing a complete drone delivery system, built specifically to enhance retailers’ delivery operations to meet their customers’ growing on-demand needs.
Which markets (medicine, retail, food, industrial materials, or other) and which types of deliveries (rural, suburban or urban) do you focus on and why?
Flytrex specializes in making on-demand drone delivery a reality for the retail and food sectors in suburban areas. Drones present a more sustainable delivery method than traditional ones, like cars, bikes and scooters – which have difficulty delivering outside restaurants’ delivery zones, which are often under a 5 mile-radius. In addition, our fully electric drone delivery system significantly reduces traffic and pollution on roads down below. Third party services determine delivery range by time from pickup to drop-off (15-minute standard), which are limited as well. We are filling the gap that traditional modes of delivery cannot. We are also serving an unserved population – the US suburbs, which represents almost 2/3 of US population.
Is drone delivery still a hype or reality?
Flytrex has proven that drone delivery is already a reality, and its convenience, speed and sustainability prime it to become an industry standard. Flytrex has been successfully conducting backyard deliveries to select residents of the city of Reykjavik, Iceland since 2017, with plans to roll out its on-demand service across the city. Flytrex also received approval as part of the US Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program to begin deliveries in Holly Springs, North Carolina, where drones will operate along a single route from a popular shopping mall to a drop-off point located at a nearby park. Flytrex is looking to expand operations throughout the US and bring our innovative on-demand drone delivery system to hungry people all over the country.
What are your biggest challenges right now? And, what are you doing to overcome them?
As with any company blazing a new path, we’re faced with challenges on a daily basis. One of the greatest challenges for a company like ours has been getting buy-in from regulators and society alike. While at times an arduous process, our philosophy is to work hand in hand with regulatory bodies to ensure the highest safety standards and to insure public buy-in. We view the regulatory process as an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with government bodies through close collaboration, and in turn to fine-tune safety standards that set the highest bar for the commercial drone industry.
While there has been much progress, the public hasn’t yet fully embraced commercial drones, and concerns about privacy and safety still abound. We’ve put in place a series of robust safety measures to mitigate those concerns: For example, our drones currently fly mostly over unpopulated areas, while hovering at 100 feet above the ground at delivery – ensuring there’s no breach of privacy or other dangers.
By showcasing the vast benefits of our systems, we’re working to prove to the public that drones can provide the on-demand experience they are craving, safely and efficiently.
What has been the key to your success as a drone delivery pioneer?
Flytrex’s software is tailored for B2C retail and food on-demand delivery. Our user-friendly software enables operators to communicate with the designated drones via an easy-to-use app. Retailers need only to allow a drone delivery option on their website, and Flytrex takes care of the rest. These limited requirements make Flytrex’s technology highly efficient, beneficial and affordable for retailers.
Additionally, being a nimble startup has its advantages. By working with local partners, startups like us are able to hone in on their customers’ needs — both on the consumer and retail sides. Flytrex can help eCommerce businesses of any size compete with the online retail giants. By disrupting the traditional delivery space with more efficient, cost-cutting and sustainable alternatives, local communities are also better served.
Current drone delivery use cases are necessary, but not necessarily cost efficient. How long before we see a real cost-efficient use case at scale?
Flytrex is a cost-efficient drone delivery system. Using our system, a single operator can perform 15 deliveries per hour, compared to the usual 1-3 deliveries per hour using a bicycle or a car. A common misconception is that truly on-demand service comes at a great cost, but we’ve seen first-hand with our partner in Iceland, Aha, that our system has actually slashed delivery costs by 60%, while boosting customer satisfaction – a win-win.