Drone delivery specialist Flytrex has announced further expansion of its aerial activities with the launch of services in Durham, North Carolina, flying orders from its new partner, Charleys Philly Steaks.
The linkup in Durham with Charleys – which describes itself as the world’s largest cheesesteak franchise – represents the fifth zone of drone delivery operations in the US for Flytrex. Three of those are similarly located in North Carolina, covering Fayetteville, Raeford, and Holly Springs. The fourth is in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Granbury, a move announced in March that both broadened the company’s geographical footprint and considerably expanded the number of potential households it can serve.
The addition of Durham to its urban centers of operation further increases the total number of homes Flytrex delivery drones can reach to around 140,000.
As is the case with its existing stations, Flytrex drone deliveries for Charleys in Durham will be flown by its longtime partner Causey Aviation Unmanned. Those will benefit from the authorization the company received the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted in July doubling Flytrex’s flight range to two nautical miles.
Orders from Flytrex retail and restaurant partners like Charleys are made over the company’s app, which then informs customers of drone delivery progress – made on average within three minutes of products being loaded aboard. The move to digital resources – and aerial transport – is one Charleys has made to improve service while cutting operating costs.
“The future of delivery is here, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Brian Hipsher, Charleys chief marketing officer. “We look forward to expanding our partnership with Flytrex to create a more cost effective and quick delivery service for all our guests.”
Israel-based Flytrex has been a major mover in the development of drone delivery of food and retail orders since it first launched activity in Iceland in 2017, before turning to the US to seek FAA approval. The company first introduced service in North Carolina in 2019, then expanded within the state before making the jump to Texas.
It has worked closely throughout with the FAA – first as a participant in its UAS Integration Pilot Program, and later through the BEYOND project to tackle the remaining challenges of safe and efficient UAV integration, including beyond visual line of sight activity.
Flytrex CEO Yariv Bash says its new station in Durham supporting Charleys and other local businesses is part of what he expects to see as a transformative year for drone delivery throughout the US from a nascent to swiftly scaling activity.
“This partnership with Charleys and its accompanying expansion brings us one step closer to a future of affordable, ultrafast delivery that is both safe and green,” said Bash. “We look forward to continuing growing our delivery service nationwide to reach the tens of millions of backyards across the country.”