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Startup Beats Amazon to Home Drone Deliveries

Amazon, Google and Walmart are still working out details with the FAA to get the right to deliver goods to your home via drone. Meanwhile, a startup, Flirtey, says its completed the first such federally-sanctioned delivery via unmanned aerial vehicle, with the help of the University of Nevada at Reno.

The autonomous, half-mile flight happened on March 10 in Hawthorne, Nev., according to a report on Fortune. The drone carried a package of emergency supplies, including a first-aid kit, food and water. The flight path, which ended up at an uninhabited house, was programmed using GPS. The package was lowered to the front porch using a rope.

MORE: How to Register a Drone

The company told Fortune that a drone pilot was on hand, just in case something went wonky. But the flight reportedly went off without a hitch.

Flirtey is the same company that delivered emergency supplies to a health clinic in Virginia last year. Because this delivery was sent to a residential area, it shows off the drone's ability to avoid power lines, roof tops, street lamps, etc.

The small company went through a lengthy approval process to get approval from the FAA, and had to agree to some restrictions, such as not operating at night and always being in sight of a human operator.

Amazon is also testing deliveries, but is doing so in Canada and Netherlands. Flirtey previous flew test deliveries in Australia and New Zealand.

Anna Attkisson
Anna Attkisson is the editorial director at Tom's IT Pro. After getting infected with the tech bug at Wireless World and Cellular Business magazines as an intern in 1998, Anna Attkisson went on to dabble in a sorts of publications covering everything from children’s fashion to cars. During the last 9 years she’s returned to her roots where she’s been writing and editing for Laptop Mag and Tom’s Guide, before moving on to Tom’s IT Pro. Follow Anna Attkisson at @akattkisson.