By Brian Straight of Modern Shipper
Many golfers wish they could reach for a cold drink moments after hooking their seventh straight tee shot into the woods. The lack of electricity and staffing issues prevent golf courses from offering this level of customer service on each hole. If you are lucky, your local course may have a vending machine at the ninth hole.
But that could soon change. At Sun City Country Club in Sun City, Arizona, a significant development took place this week that may open up the opportunity for food and beverage delivery while on the course, leading to increased revenue opportunities for country clubs and more convenience for golfers.
“Successfully demonstrating our drone delivery system at Sun City Country Club was the first crucial step in advancing our efforts to produce turnkey drone solutions capable of addressing real-world commercial applications on and off the golf course,” Michael Drozd, CEO of AgEagle Aerial Systems, said.
Drone provider AgEagle partnered with Valqari, a Chicago-based startup that is building a drone delivery “mailbox” that allows drones to deliver packages directly into a safe and secure box.
The companies demonstrated their combined solution at Sun City. A drone picked up a package with beverages at the Valqari Drone Delivery Station outside the clubhouse restaurant and delivered that package to a second delivery station located on the course.
“Sun City Country Club provided us with the ideal venue for conducting this initial pilot test. We greatly appreciate their enthusiasm for the prospect of enhancing the overall golfing experience for their patrons through drone-enabled on-demand delivery of food and refreshments to our secure Drone Delivery Stations,” Ryan Walsh, Valqari founder and CEO, said. “This demonstration of AgEagle and Valqari technologies shows just one of the many ways our joint system can be used to optimize fast and secure deliveries for industries ranging from hospitality to commercial deliveries and beyond.”
Once the drone released the package and departed, the Drone Delivery Station was activated, relocating the package from the top of the station to a lower compartment for the golfer to retrieve the order.
“We were very pleased to have Sun City serve as the site for the AgEagle and Valqari pilot demo,” Jamey Lewis, Sun City Country Club manager, said. “We were duly impressed with their game-changing approach to delivering drinks, food and snacks to golfers and can envision this system being integrated into our course, and perhaps courses worldwide, in the future. It really does take customer experience and convenience to an entirely new level.”
Valqari’s system allows the creation of an order through an app. A box is inserted into a slot in the Drone Delivery Station. A global positioning system navigates the drone to the landing pad, where an “elevator system” raises the package to the drone to be attached.
As the drone approaches the destination, it signals the Delivery Station to open the storage compartment, lowers itself in and releases the package onto a pad. The package is then lowered into the correct compartment, where it is locked and secured until pickup.
The recipient receives a notification the package is ready for pickup. Upon arrival at the box, the recipient must verify his or her identity and select the proper package for retrieval. The slot will then open once that is all confirmed.