The drone delivery race is heating up — and one startup drone company thanks President Donald Trump for the push.
Recently, delivery companies — including giants Amazon (AMZN) and UPS (UPS) — have been seeking approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drones for commercial purposes. The government classifies drones as aircrafts, making FAA certification necessary.
Matthew Sweeney, founder and CEO of Nevada-based drone delivery company Flirtey, credited the Trump administration for recently selecting a handful of “public-private partnerships across the country to fast-track for regulatory approval — we were really privileged to be one of those,” he told told Yahoo Finance during a recent interview.
Specifically, Sweeney said Trump wanted to give a boost to American companies in an effort to “win this industry.”
Chinese ecommerce giant JD is also pursuing a plan to use drones for delivery purposes.
“Since being picked in that program, we’ve already received regulatory approval for a remote pilot to fly beyond the visual line of sight, to fly at night and for a remote pilot to fly up to ten ‘Flirtey Eagles’ at the same time,” he added.
The Flirtey Eagle operates in 95% of weather conditions and “enables point-to-point delivery” to race past the competition, according to Sweeney.
Delivery ‘in 10 minutes or less’
In addition to The Flirtey Eagle, The Flirtey Portal is a takeoff and landing platform that allows scalable operations from stores across the country.
According to Flirtey, both products — along with the company’s FAA-approved autonomous software — helps deliver packages to customer homes in just 10 minutes or less.
That’s an important goal, as the startup looks to compete with Amazon, UPS, and others entering the space.
“We hired the head of NASA’s drone program, we’ve got engineers from Space X, Raytheon (RTN) and Boeing (BA),” he said. “We have built an aviation-grade delivery drone that can achieve the highest levels of aviation safety,” Sweeney explained, touting their safety protocols.
Flirtey is on track to start routine drone delivery demonstrations in the fourth quarter of this year, with a goal of flying to homes nationwide in 2020.
“We view a future where anything that a customer wants delivered to their home can be delivered on-demand through Flirtey,” Sweeney concluded.
Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance.