May 17, 2019: DHL Express has entered into strategic partnership with autonomous aerial vehicle company EHang to jointly launch a fully automated and intelligent smart drone delivery solution to tackle the last-mile delivery challenges in the urban areas of China.
This cutting-edge solution takes its inaugural flight for a DHL customer, making DHL the first international express company to provide such a service in China. The new customized route covers a distance of approximately eight kilometers between the customer premises and the DHL service center in Liaobu, Dongguan, Guangdong Province.
Wu Dongming, CEO, DHL Express China said: "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."
Given the growing prominence of B2C business operations and delivery in China, employing drones in express delivery services offers an innovative solution for meeting the increasing demands for time-sensitive delivery, particularly for last mile delivery in urban areas.
The EHang Falcon smart drone can carry up to 5kg of cargo per flight, take off and land atop intelligent cabinets that were specifically developed for the fully autonomous loading and offloading of the shipment. The intelligent cabinets seamlessly connect with automated processes including sorting, scanning and storage of express mail, and will feature high-tech functions such as facial recognition and ID scanning.
The benefits include costs savings upto 80 percent per delivery, with reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint compared with road transportation.
The German-headquartered company said through a statement: “Building on the launch of its first fully automated, intelligent drone delivery solution in China, DHL will continue to identify new routes that can be developed for clients in need of tailored customer services and logistics solutions and will work closely with EHang to create a second generation of drones in the near future that will further improve capacity and range in drone-operated express delivery.”
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."