Drone deliveries can save time, money, and even – as Zipline has proven repeatedly – save lives. Now, FlytBase, a drone automation platform, has announced the imminent launch of FlytZip, an on-demand, last-mile drone delivery software platform.
The drone industry is undergoing a rapid metamorphosis on multiple fronts at the moment. We’re seeing the rise of autonomous drones, drone-in-a-box solutions for BVLOS inspections from companies like Percepto and Skydio, and of course, drone deliveries.
Let’s see what FlytBase is up to.
We received a news release from FlytBase, announcing what it says is big news. Here’s the headline: “FlytBase introduces world’s first software platform to enable drone deliveries.”
At first glance, our reaction might be: “Well, there are multiple options for fleet management and mission planning… what’s so different about this?”
The release explains why FlytBase is excited.
That’s the name of the new product, which FlytBase says means “drone solution providers (DSPs) would be able to deploy and manage multiple deliveries end to end using the UAV hardware of their choice — an industry first.”
Here’s the nut of what FlytBase says is FlytZip’s value proposition:
FlytZip is an affordable, turnkey, and hardware-agnostic software application that allows users (“Operators”) to add off-the-shelf or custom-built drones to their dashboard and execute multiple deliveries simultaneously. Operators have complete administrative control of all the shipments from start to finish: They can add and manage a set of dispatchers, approve and modify orders, configure different drop-off points for multi-package deliveries, monitor drone telemetry, and do much more. Numerous flight-safety actions such as pre-flight checks, failsafes, and geofences can also be set for each delivery mission.
Wait, there’s more!
And there is. The news release continues:
FlytZip offers seamless integrations with third-party software such as ERP, inventory, and air-traffic management systems (UTMs) and landing platforms such as docking stations and smart storage boxes. It also supports advanced cargo mechanisms such as winch and grip modules for package release.
Ahead of their time?
Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights – which will be involved in pretty much all drone deliveries – are not yet routine. In the United States, an FAA waiver is required for such missions. In Canada, a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) is required. There are other restrictions in other jurisdictions.
While the granting of such permissions is becoming more frequent, it’s not exactly routine. Common drone deliveries still have hurdles to overcome, including an Uncrewed Traffic Management (UTM) system that regulatory authorities recognize as safe and reliable. (UTM ensures minimal conflict, potentially including Detect and Avoid features, between crewed and uncrewed aircraft. We wrote recently about Iris Automation, and why these systems are important.)
Point is, while drone delivery is coming (and yes, we’re aware of some exceptions where drone deliveries are currently taking place), it’s not a slam dunk that’s happening tomorrow. But it’s coming, and will require a drone delivery software platform with UTM integrated – and FlytBase believes FlytZip is the solution.
That being said…
FlytBase has some pretty deep experience, and also has its finger on the industry pulse. It believes the market is ready for this software platform, and undoubtedly there are companies in a position to utilize it.
The platform will be unveiled, and fully explained, during an online event this Friday. You can register for it here.
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