University of Nevada, Reno partners with Flirtey

By Emily Aasand | September 23, 2014

The University of Nevada, Reno, has partnered Flirtey which provides real-time delivery using UAS to create a safe delivery technology. It’s the first campus partnership under the university’s Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center.

“Flirtey is partnering with the University of Nevada, Reno to pioneer an industry, to develop safe UAV delivery technology and to position ourselves as a first mover when the U.S. commercial market opens up,” said Matthew Sweeny, CEO of Flirtey.

Flirtey, which conducted successful, fully automated drone textbook-delivery tests in Sydney, Australia, earlier this year, has based its U.S. operation on campus and will be using the University’s indoor flight facilities to test aerial robots, according to the school.

“The collaboration with the university is an important step in Flirtey’s growth by allowing us to use their facilities and test Flirteys on campus,” said Sweeny. “Nevada is just one of six locations in the U.S. approved by the FAA for UAV testing, and with its close proximity to Silicon Valley, budding tech scene, and the state’s strong aeronautical history, Reno is positioned to become the biggest little city in the world of UAV space.”

According to the university, through innovation, entrepreneurship and industry collaboration, such as with Flirtey, NAASIC is exploring development of land-based, aerial and stationary robotic systems, advanced manufacturing systems, driverless road vehicles and underwater robots.

“NAASIC will take up an entire floor in our new 25,000-square-foot Innovation Center in downtown Reno when it is completed,” said Mridul Gautam, vice president for research and innovation for the university. “We’re very excited that Flirtey is bringing its research and innovation to Reno and on campus. We look forward to collaborating with Flirtey as well as other innovators in the NAASIC space to pioneer this industry together.”

FlirtEy has conducted more than 100 test deliveries of textbooks outdoors with the textbook company Zookal, and has recently hired engineers from the university’s Unmanned Autonomous Systems minor degree program. The university added a new minor degree program in UAS in January to help students prepare to enter the Nevada workforce in the UAS industry.

“Such a program will be instrumental in enhancing the state’s ability to increase its workforce in an area that has been strategically identified as one of its economic development priorities,” said Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering.