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Lift off: Iceland's Aha.is marketplace extends drone delivery

Icelandic online marketplace Aha.is has announced the launch of 13 new routes for its autonomous on-demand urban drone delivery service.

In partnership with drone technology company Flytrex the retailer now claims to have the capacity to serve nearly half of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, using an airborne fulfilment method.

Drone delivery in Iceland has been in place for some time thanks to the collaboration between these two companies, as Aha.is’s CEO Maron Kristófersson explained to delegates at this year’s RBTE in London.

This week’s developments show the service has been upgraded. It will now include an advanced "InAir" wire-drop system which will lower packages directly to consumers’ backyards, beginning with a limited number of addresses in the capital city and expanding pending approval by property owners.

Speaking at RBTE in May, Kristófersson, said there is a demand from customers to have fast delivery, with consumers in Iceland getting used to the drone format. Approval for this type of delivery was given by the Icelandic Transport Authority in 2017.

Until now, Flytrex’s drone system had been operating along one route, bridging by air two parts of the city separated by a large bay. Now hundreds of successful flights to pre-assigned drop-off points have taken place, the system will now be extended to reach new areas of Reykjavik.

Each unmanned autonomous vehicle is approved to fly up to 700 metres off its path to make backyard deliveries in selected neighbourhoods.

Kristófersson added this week: “We are thrilled to advance our partnership with Flytrex to a new level, leveraging their technology to ensure the best, fastest and safest possible drone delivery service for our customers.

“Reykjavik is the launch pad for drone advancement, and we’re proud to offer our customers this new standard of service.”

He explained: “We will see tremendous benefits when drone deliveries become mainstream – they provide faster delivery, are exponentially better for the environment, and each drone can replace at least three to four cars, reducing traffic and transport infrastructure requirements.”

Consumers using the wiredrop system move to the designated drop-off point – either on their property or at a designated public location – before using a mobile app to instruct the drone to descend. Once the package touches down, the wire detaches from the drone, which then returns to a ‘drone-port’.

“While the service is still undergoing continual improvement, drone delivery will soon be the new normal,” added Kristófersson.

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