Israeli drone delivery start-up Flytrex has expanded its service in the US with a new base in Texas.
Flytrex has been granted approval to operate drones for delivery by the Federal Aviation Administration through its partnership with drone tech firm Causey Aviation Unmanned. The approval limits its operation to within a radius of one nautical mile but according to the company, this can encompass thousands of homes in a suburban area.
The start-up, which raised $40 million late last year, has been active in North Carolina and has now launched its drone delivery for food and retail goods in Granbury, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area.
Chief executive Yariv Bash said after the successful launch in North Carolina, Texas made for a suitable follow-up.
“After looking at a few possible locations, Texas really shined out in terms of all the different variables we look at,” he said.
The company is focused on serving suburban areas, rather than urban areas as cities are already well-served by delivery services.
Family homes with front or back yards that are fit for delivering goods via drones are the sweet spot, Bash explained.
“That’s where the system shines and that’s where currently the service is lacking and costing a lot more.”
In its initial launch in North Carolina, it reached around 10,000 homes, having worked with the North Carolina Department of Transportation in the FAA’s BEYOND program, which examined unmanned drone technology.
Flytrex’s drones can carry a load of about 6lbs, Bash said, which makes it ideal for food delivery as well as some retail goods. Flight time is estimated at around five minutes.
“I would say that we can carry most of what’s available in the shopping center besides large screen TVs and refrigerators,” he said.
It has inked deals with Brinker International, the company behind chains like Chili’s, and Walmart and Target for deliveries.
“We will be opening more [locations],” he added. “Initially more locations in Texas and North Carolina and hopefully by the end of the year, we might go to a third hub.”
The US remains the company’s sole focus for operations.
“Basically the FAA is taking a much more mature approach than [other] regulators in the world,” he said.
Flytrex raised a Series C round of $40 million last November led by BRM Group. Bash added that the company expects to raise another round of funding in the next 18 months to finance its growth.