Yorkshire-based watch business Weird Ape is among the first in the world to deliver packages to its customers using a drone.
The Civil Aviation Authority cleared the company to test a service that can dispatch up to two packaged watches within 45 minutes.
Weird Ape co-founder Callum McVickers first revealed plans to deliver by drone back in March, and has been working on the idea ever since.
The drone, piloted by McVicker’s business partner Stefan Kozikowski, can travel at 20mph in a straight line which means it can reach remote locations much quicker and cheaper than conventional methods.
Using a unique delivery system that has been designed in house, the items are dropped automatically when the drone touches down.
Kozikowski said: “Watches are small, light and high value making them ideal candidates for drone deliveries. One of the most challenging parts was building the payload delivery system. At first we were integrating a receiver and servos to open the hatch. This all needed additional power and added weight.
“Seeing us struggle with the design our accountant, an avid fisherman, suggested we create a much simpler design based on a bait dropper. This clever design didn’t require any of the complicated communications equipment, saving cost and weight.”
In the test flight, a customer orders a watch and it is dispatched by drone within 45 minutes. The customer is notified via a mobile phone app.