Drone deliveries of food, health essentials in trial phase at Yale University, FAA plans sit down with student CEO

Unusual Stories

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH/AP) — Drones are being used for special deliveries at Yale University. A group of Yale students has developed a drone delivery service on campus.

The drone delivery service is called Kiki Air. It’s already taking off on campus. So far, the reaction from students has been positive.

News 8 spoke with several students who have used the service and others who know someone who has.

Here’s how it works: Students place an order, a drop-off location on campus is selected, items are loaded into packages and attached to drones, and then delivered.

The products delivered are sorted into four categories: candy, snacks, groceries, and health/essentials. The products are then delivered to a specific drop-off location on campus.

Student Haley Prince told News 8 she ordered right to the courtyard and “it just popped right up.”

Another student, Sandra Temgoua explained that she often has classes far distances from one another, “so being able to just go on an app and select something, like, given to me in a way that’s like novel. A drone is something that’s up-and-coming.”

It should be noted that once the drone is near the selected drop-off point, the Kiki Air pilot calls the customer to make sure that the area is safe to receive the package.

Even though the proper precautions have been taken, the “pilot program” has not gone without incident.

According to the Yale Daily News, one of the drones did fall from the sky last Thursday. But, one of the co-founders says it was actually a controlled landing.

Still, students are not sure if the program is here to stay.

“I’m not sure if it will be here to stay. I know the people I know who use it are pretty happy with it. It’s really convenient. I don’t have to go to Wallgreens to get my things.”

Ana Patriciaborja, Yale Student

News 8 reached out to Kiki Air CEO Jason Lu without success. This startup business is not affiliated with the university and is under strict guidelines on campus. Yale has agreed to a trial period for the company.

The startup won a $150,000 grant from Y Combinator, a California-based investor. The company’s founder, senior Jason Lu, says his company grew from a class project.

Certainly, this can be seen as more environmentally-friendly than traditional car delivery services.

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration said they are looking into reports about the service, and plans to meet with the students and Yale officials as part of an outreach and education effort to encourage voluntary compliance with FAA drone regulations.

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