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Deuce Drones delivery nearing take-off

By Chris Stonor

Less than a year since its first public demonstration flight, Alabama-based Deuce Drones is about to take to the sky for real, reports Onlookers may soon see delivery drones carrying packages through the air near a major crossroads in Mobile, the intersection of Interstate 65 and Dauphin Street.

The company’s first phase of commercial operation will connect customers in the BB&T Centre, north of Dauphin on the west I-65 Service Road, with businesses in the Legacy Village shopping centre, off the northwest corner of the intersection. CEO Rhett Ross said there are plans for a VIP launch at the end of May followed by a regular service within the next 30 days.

Philip Burton, owner of BB&T Financial Centre and a member of Deuce Drone’s advisory board, said, “Offering this service to our tenants and their teams is a great way to welcome people back to the office and provide new value to the office experience.”

Richard Inge, Managing Partner of Legacy Village, added, “Being one of the first retail centres in the region to offer regular food delivery service by drone demonstrates our commitment to using technology to keep local retail competitive in an online world.”

Inge continued, “The Legacy-to-BB&T connection will establish daily and weekly lunch delivery service for revenue while allowing us to validate and improve key aspects of our business technology.”

Previously, the drone company’s founders have said their goal is to create a drone delivery business model that helps keep brick-and-mortar businesses competitive, while keeping the process as simple as possible for them. Deuce Drones uses off-the-shelf hardware alongside its own management software.

The company said that during initial operations, drones are to be loaded by Deuce employees. Eventually, it plans to create and install “DronePorts” that automate the loading, charging and launch process. It also has developed an app that customers can use to place orders.

In a trial last summer, the company tested a process for customers that involved setting out a landing mat with an optical code. Once a drone arrives at the general area where it’s supposed to make a delivery, it’s programmed to look for the target pad and zero in on it for a landing at exactly the right spot.

Deuce says its operations will comply with updated Federal Aviation Administration rules going into effect in late April. Its drones will have a maximum take-off weight of 26 pounds, allowing for five to 10 pounds of cargo.

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