Why did the first Kroger drone delivery happen in the Dayton area? Your questions answered

Kroger’s first commercial drone delivery only took a few minutes last Wednesday. But there’s an historical through-line between that brief flight in Centerville and years of work by local advocates pursuing federal authorization for a certain kind of drone research in the Dayton and Springfield areas.

After the first Kroger drone flight, Dayton Daily News reporters asked questions about the new process and dug into the background of how we got here. Consider joining efforts to produce quality local journalism like these recent investigations with a Dayton Daily News subscription.

Your questions answered about the new drone deliveries and their background:

What happened last week?

The first drone delivery conducted by TELEGRID Technologies’ drone operator Drone Express was executed last week in Centerville. A drone flew a box containing two packages of long-grain rice to Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton on the front lawn of city offices on West Spring Valley Pike.

Why is it notable that is happened in this area?

Beth Flippo, principal engineer and chief technology officer for TELEGRID Technologies Inc., said her company was drawn to the Dayton area for two reasons. First, TELEGRID’s customer, Kroger, is headquartered in southwest Ohio. And second, the area already was practicing the kind of drone flight her company needed to work with Kroger — flights in which the operators can no longer see the drone because of the distance.

“After several visits, we realized that aviation is just in the blood of the people in Dayton,” Flippo said. “And even though Kroger was in Cincinnati, we knew this was really where all flights were happening, all the newest aircraft are being built at Wright-Patt.”

What comes next?

TELEGRID will hire 50 to 100 people at its Monroe manufacturing center to build drones for Kroger and other customers.

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