Australia may soon be the first country in the world to see commercial courier deliveries by drone, if a launch by a textbook rental service and an Australian tech start-up goes according to plan.
From March next year and pending regulatory approval, students will be able to order books from Zookal via an Android smartphone app and have one of six Flirtey drones deliver them to their door in Sydney. As the drone arrives, students will be able to track it in real-time on a Google map.
After its initial launch, Flirtey hopes to then expand the service to other products and locations, even seeing potential to deliver food and drinks to people and blood to and from blood banks and hospitals in future.
Textbook rental service Zookal partnered with Flirtey, a start-up born at the University of Sydney, to cut costs on deliveries. If Flirtey gets the approval of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) it will be the first use of fully automated commercial drones for deliveries in the world, the company claims.
Zookal’s founder Ahmed Haider is confident. Australian regulators entered the Drone Age in 2002, when Australia became the first country to introduce legislation covering unmanned aerial vehicles, leading the world in creating rules governing civilian use of the technology.
But whether the company can get CASA’s approval remains to be seen, as there are many hurdles they will need to face in order to obtain it.