Airbus and Chinese drone manufacturer XAG are collaborating on a new pilot project in the Guangzhou province to deliver noodles from a local vendor via unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
In the trial, a select group of customers in Guangzhou can order food from a local noodle shop through the Drone Cargo WeChat app. The food is then placed in an insulated box and loaded into a drone. The drone then carries the food to a set of pre-determined lockers in under five minutes and the customer is alerted to the nearest locker.
The goal of the trial is to validate automated delivery flight from a vendor to a destination and back along pre-selected pathways. The trial will seek to create feedback on the drone cargo service and customer opinions on the process.
Airbus already has been testing drone deliveries in ship-to-shore trials for its Skyways service and a host of other companies are involved in testing. Parcel delivery giant UPS is seeking FAA approval for its own service. Other big-name vendors have their own initiatives, including FedEx, Google’s Wing, Vodafone and Amazon. Meanwhile, new methods of delivery may bring additional sources of revenue for companies in this emerging market.
A host of startups are also getting in on drone delivery including Flytrex’s shopping goods test in Iceland and in North Carolina, Drone Delivery Canada’s beyond the visual line of sight tests in Northern Canada and Workhorse Group’s Horsefly drone delivery system in Cincinnati, Ohio.