Aviant Launches Kyte Home Delivery Service, Gains €1M in Public Funding
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
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Norwegian drone logistics company Aviant has announced the launch of Kyte, a home delivery service bringing groceries, food and non-prescription medicines to sparsely populated locations in Norway. Aviant has also secured an additional €1M of public funding from Innovation Norway for the autonomous delivery of essential prescription medicines from pharmacies to people in remote and suburban locales.
Aviant was founded in 2020 by Lars Erik Fagernæs, Herman Øie Kolden and Bernhard Paus Græsdal at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The company has delivered 12 commercial contracts in Norway and Sweden, including the transport of Covid-19 tests and blood samples between district hospitals and central hospitals during the pandemic. Aviant has since conducted more than 2,500 autonomous flights, covering over 35,000 km.
As opposed to other drone delivery solutions like Google Wing or Manna Drone Delivery, Aviant’s drones are able to fly up to 120 km in a straight line, resulting in a significantly higher delivery range. Kyte is able to deliver within a 30 km radius for return flights, rather than the 2-3 km range of other providers. Aviant is certified under EU regulations to operate autonomous flights within the union.
“Our technology proved critical for rural healthcare services during the pandemic, where winter road closures meant our drones were the only link between Covid-19 test sites and laboratories in Central Norway,” said Aviant founder and CEO Lars Erik Fagernæs. “Now, with the launch of Kyte and our funding from Innovation Norway, Luminar Ventures and Bring Ventures, we are able to provide people in remote and hard-to-reach areas with the groceries and medical supplies they need, directly to their doorstep, with no traffic restrictions and minimal climate emissions.”
Customers are able to request delivery using the Kyte app, selecting from a range of groceries, meals and medicines. After the order is placed, the drones are loaded at Kyte’s home base, before autonomously delivering the order and returning to base. To date, Kyte has completed deliveries covering over 4,000 km, with an average delivery time of 24 minutes.
Fortune Business Insights projects that the drone delivery market will grow from US$998M in 2020 to US$31bn in 2028, with an annual growth rate of 24,4%. Around the world, over 2,000 drone deliveries are made every day, from emergency supplies in remote locations to food delivery in urban areas.
“Door-to-door drone delivery has been a hot topic for years already, but most commercial attempts have been limited to small, open areas such as a single park, or technology that limits the radius to 2-3 kilometers. Where plenty of companies have received initial funding, getting a commercial last-mile delivery service up and running has proven extremely difficult,” Fagernæs added. “That changes with Kyte. We have a large delivery radius, the permits to operate, and no requirements for pilots or spotters along the route. We are actually delivering food, groceries and medicine by drone to people’s doorsteps in Norway right now.”
Last September, Aviant raised €2.3M in a seed round led by Bring Ventures, the venture arm of the Norwegian postal service. Aviant intends to open a second base in Norway during 2023, allowing it to serve 20,000 – 30,000 remote holiday homes with door-to-door deliveries. Later on, the company plans to bring drone home delivery to most of Norway, as well as EU markets.
“Aviant has the perfect combination of proven, reliable technology, great people, and a market ready for the taking,” said Bring Ventures Investment Manager Anett Berger Sørli. “We invested in Lars Erik and the team because we see drone delivery as central to the future of logistics, and being able to launch Kyte within such a short timeframe shows how driven this team is to lead us to that future.”
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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