Drone deliveries will deliver refreshments to golf players at King’s Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Sept. 15 onwards, for just $3.
Refreshment orders will be place via an app and drone lowers the snacks intended customer on a rope about 10 minutes later. This drone service is being provided by an Israeli drone company FlyTrex which already has experience in making hundreds of automated food deliveries in Iceland this year. FlyTrex found a willing partner in Grand Forks, a hotbed of drone activity. Keith Lund, president and CEO of Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, calls the area “Sili-drone Valley.” Since 2008 one of his employees has been focused entirely on developing local drone businesses.
King’s Walk intends beginning with a six-week trial run with only one drone to complete deliveries to a single location. Depending on how the trial operation goes and the availability of an FAA permit to fly over people, delivery points could be added throughout the course.
Bill Palmiscno, executive director of the Grand Forks Park District, which operates the course, can foresee replacing one of the course’s beverage carts if the drone tests succeed. To prevent being hit by wayward balls, the drone flies at between 200 and 300 feet above the ground. It descends to 45 feet above the ground when lowering a delivery. “If it goes well, this could be great,” Palmiscno said.
Patrons at King’s Walk Golf Course in North Dakota could download the Flytrex Golf app for their platform of choice and a full list of available menu items will be available to choose from, courtesy the nearby Eagle’s Crest Bar & Grill. The customers will then choose from a list of geofenced drop-off sites and place their order. The clubhouse will package the received order and hand it to theFlytrex technician. This is where the drone comes in and order in tow flies toward the designated pickup zone. The drone will continue hovering over it till the customer arrives. Once the customer confirms via the app that they’re ready to retrieve it the drone will travel to this destination by taking a route without anyone under it, as per the requisite safety precaution.
“The sky’s the limit when it comes to drone capabilities,” Flytrex CEO Yariv Bash said. “From delivering snacks and beverages to golfers to assisting in search and rescue operations to performing key inspections, drones are being incorporated into all aspects of life … Golf is a sport with deep-rooted traditions, and there’s great interest in using technology to enhance this experience.”
Bash said Flytrex Golf is the first of several slated in the U.S., including an FAA-approved pilot program in North Carolina scheduled to launch later this year.
Competitors are making progress too. In May, Uber announced plans to deliver food by drone in San Diego, and Alibaba’s Ele.me has got permission from local authorities to use drones to deliver meals along 17 routes in Shanghai’s Jinshan Industrial Park.