A U.S. autonomous drone delivered a package to a destination outside of Reno, Nev., making it the first delivery of its kind in U.S. history.
The six-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flew roughly a half a mile above a stretch of residences, and eventually reached a cluster of vacant houses in the nearby area of Hawthorne. The drone completed its mission after landing outside of a specified uninhabited home, which it had been preprogrammed to do.
The test flight occurred on March 10, though the results of the run were not made known to the public until March 25.
The UAV was able to make a successful trip by way of an inputted route, which was done before its delivery mission with the help of a GPS. While observers and a pilot were at the site to step in in case of a mishap, the flight itself was executed as planned.
As reported by the Associated Press, the landmark autonomous drone was designed and produced by Flirtey, a drone manufacturer based in the state.
"Conducting the first drone delivery in an urban setting is a major achievement, taking us closer to the day that drones make regular deliveries to your front doorstep," Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney stated.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval also commented on the event, commending Sweeney and the company "on successfully completing the nation's first fully autonomous urban package delivery."
The governor was also quick to extend an appreciative remark to Sweeney for the employment opportunities Flirtey has given citizens in the greater Reno area.
"I am thrilled that Flirtey is not only testing its cutting-edge technology in Nevada, but also creating jobs through its headquarters relocation to Reno," Sandoval said.
The test flight was made possible in part by a partnership between Flirtey and the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, as well with cooperation from the Federal Flight Administration (FAA).
"This was by far one of the most successful (unmanned aircraft systems) operations we ran and represents an advanced level of test and development," said the FAA's site-designated director of operations Chris Walach.
To get an idea of how the autonomous drone completed its historic delivery, check out the video below.
Source: Associated Press
Photo: Richard Unten | Flickr