“Drones push aerial logistics, technology pushes retail.”
China is really ramping up food delivery via drone. Super Species (a convenience store part of Yonghui Supermarkets) has teamed up with Ehang Smart Technology (of aerial taxi fame) to deliver up to 500 grams (1.1 lbs) of perishables (such as prawns, salmon, beef, fruit and organic products) to customers within a 4.5 km radius from their store in in Guangzhou, China. By using drones, they have eliminated 40-60% of traffic time and report reducing operational costs by 50%. Since initial launch in May 2018, over 600 deliveries have been safely completed.
According to ProduceReport, the process begins when nearby consumers place an order on Yonghui’s smartphone application or WeChat. Automatic determination is made whether delivery will be done by traditional ground transport or by drone. Upon receipt of order, an onsite worker will load the drone and press the “take off” button. The drone then follows a predetermined route to a predetermined spot at least 100 meters away from the final destination. A delivery man completes the final part of the delivery by land.
The current quadcopter model being used can fly up to 40 km/h (24.85 mph) and deliver up to 500 grams of goods within a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) radius. The carrying capacity of future models is expected to increase to 5 kg (11 lbs) within a 7 km (4.35 mi) radius.