Drones to deliver education packages to Australian students

October 15th, 2013

World-first use of commercial drones for package delivery unveiled today by Zookal

Zookal, Australia’s leading student services platform and textbook rental service, has partnered with commercial drone service Flirtey to provide a unique parcel delivery solution to support its textbook dispatch. The partnership marks the first use of fully automated commercial drones in the world.

Zookal will be using Flirtey to deliver parcels free of charge, directly to a customer’s location. Customers within the drone zone will receive a notification on their smartphone that will enable them to track the parcel via GPS. They will then be able to receive the parcel directly at any outdoor location. This delivery method will significantly reduce waiting times from two to three days to as little as two to three minutes.

Watch the Flirtey delivery textbooks

Ahmed Haider, CEO of Zookal, said the joint venture with Flirtey came out of projections the company made about the future cost of parcel delivery. “Parcel delivery is an important part of any ecommerce business and it is a core part of ours. We recognised that as the business grew, the current options would be unsustainable from a cost and performance perspective.”

“This joint venture with Flirtey gives us an opportunity to provide a significantly faster and more efficient delivery of goods while reducing our ecological footprint and costs. We expect the use of drones will cut our delivery costs from $8.60 to 80c per delivery, and because they are battery powered, the environmental impact is minimal,” said Haider.

Australian customers will be able to choose Flirtey alongside regular delivery methods starting March 2014. Zookal plans to use Flirtey in its Asia-Pacific operations before rolling it out to the USA in 2015.

“We believe Flirtey will transform the skies like smartphones transformed our lives,” Haider said. “As one of the few countries in the world to allow commercial drone activities, Australia is uniquely placed to create a new drone industry and shape the development of regulations in this space.”

Not only will the technology reduce wait times for customers in more remote areas, it also has significant implications for the logistics industry with other applications, such as urgent blood and medical supplies delivery. Other ecommerce businesses have already signed on to use the Flirtey service.

Flirtey was born out of a project conducted by top engineering students at the University of Sydney, which became a commercial joint venture. Zookal’s investment in the drone service is part of the company’s vision to support new technology.

Press Materials
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About Zookal
Zookal is the largest student portal in Australia providing invaluable services that make students’ lives easier. The largest service offering is Textbook Rentals that provides a faster, easier and cheaper alternative to what is available, disrupting the current textbook market. Zookal solves one of the biggest pain points for budget-conscious students by providing access to textbooks at a fraction of the price they are currently accessing them for, in the Australian market. Zookal also provides a digital notes platform and internship programs for international students.

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About Flirtey
Flirtey is a commercial drone service born out of a joint venture with Asia Pacific’s largest student platform and textbook rental service, Zookal and software company Vimbra which brings algorithmic intelligence to Flirtey. Ahmed Haider, CEO of Zookal and Matthew Sweeny, CEO of Vimbra are cofounders of Flirtey.