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#RBTE2018: Drone delivery takes off in Iceland

Delivery problems may be overcome in the future by drone delivery, which is being successfully trialled in the wild weather of Iceland.

Speaking at RBTE in London, Maron Kristofersson, CEO and founder of the Icelandic Aha.is Marketplace said that there is a demand from customers to have fast delivery, and often found that people would prefer local products delivered by drone over an order from an online marketplace.

Aha.is partnered with Flytrex to provide customers with drone deliveries, following approval from the Icelandic Transport Authority (Icetra), as revealed by Essential Retail last year.

Kristofersson said that after a 14-month process, a license was approved after the departments of transport, aviation, police and city of Rekjavik agreed to the concept in mid 2017, when it was able to create multiple new flight routes that were closer to the city centre.

“We do 95% of deliveries using electric cars, which have a high investment cost but low cost of operation,” he said. “With a drone it is ten-times the speed, but ten times better for the environment at ten times lower cost.”

In terms of public perception, Kristofersson said that members of the public became used to seeing drones and millennials now expect immediate delivery of an item, and want it fast and free. “Public perception is key, if they are not happy then it doesn’t matter what the police or transport say, the public comes first and people are positive all the time,” he said.

In the future, Kristofersson anticipated that a drone could carry up to 10kg – a current drone can carry 3kg – and flight paths will be created to enable more deliveries, which were currently a maximum of 30 in one day with two drones.

In terms of delivery, he explained that a customer gets a link to a web app via text after ordering, and controls the delivery via the web app. Also the drone does not land, but a package is collected after the customer approves it with a personal code.