StrixDrones eyes up United States after successful first DroneDrop delivery

strixdrones first delivery

StrixDrones, under the eyes of local and international agencies, received its first delivery to its DroneDrop box in Israel just a few weeks ago. We spoke with the company’s CEO and founder to get the rundown on how it went and what the future entails for them.

The Israel drone hub manufacturer StrixDrones had its first delivery to its DroneDrop mailbox on September 21, which its CEO said was successful. While the whole ordeal was short and straightforward, the cofounder and CEO, Niv Aharoni, feels this is a significant step forward for the company as it looks to expand to the United States.

The test delivery took place in a city not far from Tel Aviv and was completed by one of the many Israeli drone operators. Members from Israel’s civil aviation authority, the FAA, and local law enforcement were present for the test. The man that got the honor to take possession of the DroneDrop’s first delivery was the Commissioner of Israel Police, Kobi Shabtai. And what was delivered, you might ask? A bottle of sparkling water, since it was a sweltering day.

StrixDrones CEO, Niv Aharoni (Right), talks to Commissioner of Israel Police, Kobi Shabtai (Left), about the delivery. Credit: StrixDrones

Who is StrixDrones?

While its name may imply the company builds drones, StrixDrones is actually a manufacturer of drone hubs that are already in use with the military in Israel. Its “drone in a box” and charging hub solutions make for a logical stepping stone to something like DroneDrop, which takes that technology and adds a place to unload packages.

A term that Aharoni brought up to me throughout the interview was that they wanted to be an “airport”; someone to facilitate deliveries of products to those that order, but not the operator of fleets of drones or delivery services, so these DroneDrop boxes could be used by companies like Walmart or Amazon. While some conversations have been made, no deal has been struck just yet with any major brand.

I am fully convinced that drones will do deliveries. It’s not a question. The question it’s what is the distance and how much it’s going to cost and things like that. But there’s no issue that the drone will do the delivery.

As we see at Strix, we need to support the drone. That’s our job. We need to make sure that it will have an airport, that it can land, that it can charge that it can release the package. That’s our job to make sure that everything will be safe for it.

DroneDrop to come to the United States and made in Ohio

While StrixDrones has had a lot of success in Israel, Aharoni has his eyes set on the United States for its DroneDrop product and the company’s core business. Strix has its eyes set on becoming a customer for the US Defense Department but also believes DroneDrop could make a play commercially here.

For us, it’s very important the facilities, the workers, everything will come from the US. That’s how we see it. And the only thing that will come here from Israel is me and those, I don’t know, three, four people, and all the rest will be an American company. That’s how we see it. It should look like that. It should work like that. That’s our goal.

The second issue, of course, we would like to work with the DoD in the US. So, if we want to work with the DoD, you have to be a full American company. That’s why we started and we did it already, we are registered in the US, we are manufacturing the US, and the only part that will be moved next year to the US is the R&D. Right now, it’s still here in Israel.

Manufacturing for DroneDrop will be set up in Dayton, Ohio, and soon R&D teams will move in as well. This will be the hub of producing American-made boxes, as StrixDrones believes the US will soon be the hot market for drone deliveries.

While supplies being delivered by drones have taken off in many other regions and countries like Asia, Europe, and even Israel, the United States has been slower for the industry to take hold. Maybe that’s because we are stubborn in our ways, or it will just take time to get past the FAA. But slowly, more companies are joining the delivery push for the US, and we can add Strix to the mix with its drone mailbox service.

Food isn’t at the forefront of DroneDrop’s market

Something that came to mind when we first saw StrixDrone’s DroneDrop was that this would be great for food delivery. However, that won’t be Strix’s focus for the time being. The company is currently focused on servicing commercial markets before entering consumer markets like personal deliveries.

Food is at the tail end of its plan to get DroneDrop up and “walking” into success. First, you will see DroneDrop boxes at hospitals and laboratories to provide locations for supplies to be delivered and kept safe. We’ve already seen great success in this area, with deliveries of medicine, blood, and even life-saving organ donations taking place with drones.

You cannot support everything, one year, two, or three years, it’s okay. But you cannot support or make deliveries that you are going to lose a lot of money, for a long time. So as I see it, food is the last thing to change. First, I believe it’s going to be medical. Second, they’re going to do commercial, and last one will be food.

At this point of time, we are working less on food. That’s why we don’t have the cooling or heating or whatever it is inside, it’s less important. When we reach the time that the food will be cost effective and the price of the unit, and the price of the operator, and the price of the drone, and everything, and their fare, regulation, everything will work together. We will come with something that will be used. It’s too early to come for for this kind of solution.

Not a one size fits all product

We’ve seen DroneDrop’s test box, which consists of a landing pad and three boxes. However, what Strix plans to build will be different, but no standard model will be designed. Instead, each model will be custom-built to the customer’s need. Want more mailboxes? Easy. Need room for more than one drone to land at a time? Also possible.

However, that last request might not be necessary as Aharoni says it takes less than a minute for a drone to land, make its delivery, and take back off if charging isn’t required. So in the future, we could see DroneDrop come to apartment buildings, neighborhoods, and much more.

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