In 2014, Australians may start seeing a new kind of courier: A Sydney-based startup, Flirtey, is joining forces with student services platform Zookal to deliver textbooks to customers via drones. The books will arrive at an outdoor destination, where the drone will hover and lower them carefully using a retractable cord. In addition to shorter delivery times — students could get books in as little as two to three minutes — Zookal CEO and Flirtey co-founder Ahmed Haider says using drones will cut delivery costs to less than one-tenth of those incurred using traditional methods.
What’s the Big Idea?
Australia is well-positioned to be a leading adopter of commercial drone use, given recently relaxed government regulations and its diverse geography. However, one big hurdle that Flirtey is taking very seriously is the public’s negative perception of drones. They are working with the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering to create guidelines “which will hopefully set a benchmark for the rest of the world as to how to interact with this new technology,” says Haider. Assuming Congress follows through with passing the appropriate legislation, American students may find their books delivered via Flirtey in a few years.