The Germany-based courier giant, DHL, has become the first international logistics provider to unveil an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) drone delivery service in China, according to Supply Chain Dive.
The firm rolled out an exclusive, eight-kilometre drone delivery route for a customer based in Guangzhou, China. The trip now takes just eight minutes and produces a fraction of the overall carbon footprint, having previously took around 40 minutes one-way by car or truck.
It has been revealed that DHL is partnering with EHang for the flights, which use the company’s latest Falcon series AAV, set to carry parcels which weigh up to five kilograms. In order to help the drone navigate a range of different environments autonomously, the drone is equipped with vertical take-off and landing capabilities such as AI and smart sensing technologies.
DHL hopes drone delivery will substantially reduce the high level of risk, time and expense to it takes to transport goods to customers living in rural areas of the country that aren’t easily reached by truck or standard air shipping modes.
It is expected that following the pilot, DHL want to continue its relationship with EHang and introduce the next generation of drones which have the capabilities to handle more weight and travel further distances.
DHL’s presence in China is aligned with its strategic goal of enabling 30% of its revenue from emerging markets by 2020.