DHL Express, an international courier, and Ehang, a Chinese company focused on producing intelligent autonomous aerial vehicles, have entered into a partnership to solve the last-mile delivery challenges in metropolitan areas across China, read a DHL press release.
A lunch ceremony of the new drone delivery service was held last Thursday (May 16) at the EHang headquarters in Guangzhou, with the attendance of senior DHL executives. This makes DHL the first international courier to provide drone delivery service in China.
"We are delighted to be partnering with EHang to set a new innovation milestone with this new fully-automated and intelligent drone logistics solution, which combines the strength of the world's largest international express company together with one of the leading UAV companies in the world," said Wu Dongming, CEO, DHL Express China.
The new service can deliver small packages as far as five miles from the launching pad in Liaobu, Dongguan, Guangdong Province. Using EHang's Falcon series commercial drone, the new drone delivery service will overcome complex road conditions and traffic congestion common to urban areas.
"This is an exciting time for the logistics sector, with continued growth of the Chinese economy and cross-border trade, particularly in South China and the Greater Bay Area, which is home to an increasing number of SMEs and startups. This means there is a tremendous volume of logistics needs, which in turn creates new opportunities for implementing innovative solutions that can continuously drive growth with greater efficiency, sustainability and less cost," Dongming said.
The drone will reduce delivery time from 40 minutes to only eight minutes and can save DHL upwards of 80% per delivery.
Introducing the world's first regular fully-automated and intelligent urban #drone #delivery service - operated by #DHLExpress in Guangzhou, China, in partnership with EHANG, Inc. https://t.co/vY4jRgWsb3 #sustainability #logistics pic.twitter.com/iSM7cThnCz— DHL Express NL (@DHL_NLexpress) May 20, 2019
Mr. Hu Huazhi, Founder & CEO of EHang, said, "Together with DHL we are very glad to bring the first smart drone delivery service route to China in Guangzhou; this marks a new beginning in building air logistics for smart cities. Riding on today's launch, we expect smart drone delivery as an innovative logistics solution to be expanded and realized in more areas, and we look forward to working with DHL in building the eco-system for a multi-dimensional urban air transport system."
Given the recent explosion of B2C business operations and delivery in China, deploying the drones in cities offers an innovative solution to the last mile.
DHL plans to scale up from the Liaobu location to many other cities across China. The international courier operates in more than 220 countries and territories could start launching drone delivery service in other Asian countries in the next several years.