DHL Express and EHang Partner to Bring Last-Mile Drone Delivery to China

DHL Express and EHang are working together to create a fully automated and intelligent UAS delivery solution for last-mile delivery in China.

The customized route the EHang Falcon will travel was created for a DHL customer and covers about eight kilometers between the customer and the DHL service center in Liaobu, Dongguan, Guangdong Province, according to a news release. The drone is designed to overcome the complex road conditions and traffic congestion issues common in urban areas. It reduces one-way delivery time from 40 minutes to eight minutes and can save up to 80% per delivery.

Topcon: next level precision

“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,” said Hu Huazhi, founder and CEO of EHang. “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.”

The UAS comes with eight propellers on four arms and is designed with multiple redundant systems as well as smart, secure flight control modules. Other features include vertical take-off and landing, high accuracy GPS and visual identification, smart flight path planning, fully-automated flight and real-time network connection and scheduling.

The system can carry up to 5 kg of cargo per flight and take off and land from intelligent cabinets designed for fully autonomous loading and offloading of the shipment. The cabinets connect with automated processes such as sorting, scanning and storing mail. They also feature facial recognition and ID scanning.

DHL will continue to identify new routes for clients and will work with EHang to develop a second generation of drones to further improve express delivery.

“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 of DHL Express China, according to the release. “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.”