Susie and Paul Sensmeier experienced their inaugural drone delivery by chance about four years ago. Since that serendipitous day, this retired pair from Virginia have seamlessly incorporated it into their everyday lives.
While still in its budding stages, drone deliveries could very well be the future of doorstep deliveries, particularly for senior citizens and those facing mobility challenges.
With advancing age, the Sensmeiers’ mobility has declined. However, they believe drone deliveries have enabled them to remain in their residence longer than they otherwise might have.
Paul, 84, a retired engineer, remarks:
“It’s definitely intrigued us. This feels like a glimpse into the future of delivery. The exact nature of how drone delivery will look in the end remains a topic of debate. Nevertheless, it’s been a revelation for all.”
Residing in proximity to Virginia Tech University, the Sensmeiers have witnessed Google-owned Wing’s drone research endeavors.
Back in 2019, the duo, driven by sheer curiosity, attended a demonstration of this technology at the university campus. Susie, 83, amusingly points out:
“We probably were the only attendees neither aiming for a political role nor having any association with the drone company or the FAA. We were extended an invitation to join the program. We took them up on it, and that set the ball rolling.”
To date, the couple has made a whopping 1,200 orders through Wing’s drone delivery service based in Christiansburg, Virginia — a tally that the company believes might be unprecedented globally.
Their orders predominantly consisted of everyday essentials from Walgreens: from playing cards, colored pencils, toothbrushes, toothpaste, to sunscreen, cold remedies, and even COVID-19 test kits.
During the pandemic’s peak, they received a staggering 93 boxes of those famous cookies sold by Girl Scouts — the majority of which were generously distributed, as per Paul. Their drone orders witnessed a noticeable surge when their grandson stayed with them for a brief period.
“He’s quite fond of the burritos from the neighborhood Mexican eatery,” Susie reveals.
The average time for a delivery? A swift 12 minutes and 14 seconds.
Having recently transitioned to an assisted living facility, the Sensmeiers remain hopeful about drones making deliveries there in the near future.