FedEx Express trialling middle mile autonomous delivery drones

FedEx Express is to trial California based Elroy Air’s autonomous delivery drones for middle mile delivery between sortation stations.

Elroy Air’s Chaparral autonomous air cargo system will be trialled as FedEx experiences exponential growth in its e-commerce parcels business. In searching for efficiencies in the supply chain, so FedEx Express is looking at new innovations that will improve safety, efficiency and productivity.

“FedEx was built on innovation and we are always looking toward new technologies to help enhance the logistics industry through improved safety, efficiency and customer service,” said Joe Stephens, senior vice president, global planning, engineering and technology, FedEx Express. “We look forward to continued testing and learning throughout our collaboration with Elroy Air.”

The Elroy Air Chaparral autonomous delivery drone system was made available to potential customers in January this year. It is a vertical take-off and landing vehicle with a payload of a maximum of 500lbs (227kg) and has a range of around 300 miles. It doesn’t always require additional infrastructure such as airports or charging stations.

“We are proud to work with FedEx to build the next generation of express logistics,” said Kofi Asante, Elroy Air’s VP of Business Development and Strategy. “When you’re not limited by challenging infrastructure, traffic, or airports, logistics can reach more people, faster than ever before. We look forward to working together to create a new future for how we get goods to people around the world.”

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