DHL sign deal with Chinese drone company

Date: 17 May 2019

DHL-Sinotrans, an international express company, has signed a strategic partnership deal with Ehang, an intelligent autonomous aerial vehicle company, to jointly launch a fully automated and intelligent drone delivery solution in China.

The solution is to tackle last-mile delivery challenges in urban areas of China.

The solution took its inaugural flight to a DHL-Sinotrans customer on Thursday, making DHL the first international express company to launch such an initiative in the Chinese market.

The customized route, which has been exclusively created for DHL-Sinotrans, between the Songshanhu area and the DHL-Sinotrans service center in the Liaobu township of Dongguan in Guangdong province, covers a distance of approximately eight kilometers.

It can help reduce one-way delivery time from 40 to eight minutes and cut costs by up to 80 percent per delivery.

"Using the most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle in Ehang's newly-launched Falcon series, which feature the highest level of intelligence, automatic, safety and reliability, the intelligent delivery solution overcomes the complex road conditions and traffic congestion common to urban areas," said Derrick Xiong, Ehang co-founder and CEO of Ehang Tianyu, an Ehang subsidiary focusing on intelligent deliveries.

The Ehang Falcon smart drone, with eight propellers on four arms, is designed with multiple systems for full backup and smart and secure flight control.

"The partnership does not mean Ehang has entered the express business. Joining hands with DHL-Sinotrans will enable us to better develop into an intelligent drone service provider," Xiong said.

Ehang, based in Guangzhou, the Guangdong provincial capital city, on Thursday also revealed its 184L drone publicly for the first time.

The drone is designed to carry up to 260 kilograms of cargo and is one of Ehang's drones dedicated to logistics applications.

Jack O'Neil, deputy managing director of DHL-Sinotrans and senior vice president of network operations of DHL Express China, said growing demand from Chinese customers for a smart delivery service was the reason behind the partnership with Ehang.

"China's e-commerce grew very fast in the past few years and we have seen a fast growth in demand for an intelligent delivery service," said O'Neil.

According to O'Neil, the cutting-edge technologies of express drones, which are reliable, safe and quick, along with government policies supporting the drone express service industry, helped the company to launch such an initiative service with Ehang.

Ehang was one of the first pilot entities for UAV logistic operations under the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Source: China Daily

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