When it comes to urban mobility, most people think of ride-sharing, whether it be by cars, bikes or, increasingly, scooters. However, advances in electric propulsion, autonomous flight technology and 5G communication will soon see the skies alive with machines that can carry things and people.
DHL has launched its first urban drone delivery service in China. Working with Guangzhou-based autonomous aerial vehicle company EHang, the company deployed a fully automated drone along an 8km route in Guangzhou.
It’s a simple operation. An employee scans a barcode on the parcel and then places it in one of DHL’s intelligent cabinets. The EHang Falcon eight-propeller drone then takes the parcel on a customized route to the company’s service center and automatically lands on another cabinet.
DHL said the service reduces one-way delivery time from 40 minutes to eight minutes and can save up to 80% per delivery. The company plans to add new routes in the future but did not specify whether or when this service would be available to other customers.
Guangzhou-based drone maker EHang has delayed plans for a US IPO and is instead looking to raise up to US$200 million in a private fundraising, says DealStreetAsia, citing a Reuters report.
The five-year-old aerial landscaping specialist has decided to put off its IPO plan as it drew lukewarm investor interest, according to Reuters.,
EHang first made headlines in 2016 when it unveiled a passenger drone concept which it said would retail at up to $300,000. Early last year it said it had completed tests for the vehicle which is capable of carrying one person at speeds of up to 130 kph. In May EHang broke the Guinness World Record for most drones flown simultaneously in a 13-minute flight that involved 1,374 drones spread over a kilometer. In the consumer drone sector, EHang is however still dwarfed by fellow Shenzhen-based and the world’s largest non-military drone maker DJI Technology. DJI is said to be planning to list in either Hong Kong or mainland China.