PICTURE OF THE WEEK – DHL Express launches fully-automated urban drone delivery service

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DHL Express and intelligent autonomous aerial vehicle company EHang recently entered into a strategic partnership to jointly launch a fully automated and intelligent smart drone delivery solution to tackle the last-mile delivery challenges in the urban areas of China.

The new customized route, which has been exclusively created for a DHL customer, covers a distance of approximately eight kilometres between the customer premises and the DHL service center in Liaobu, Dongguan, Guangdong Province. Using the most advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in EHang’s newly-launched Falcon series, featuring the highest level of intelligence, automation, safety and reliability, the new intelligent drone delivery solution overcomes the complex road conditions and traffic congestion common to urban areas. It reduces one-way delivery time from 40 minutes to only eight minutes and can save costs of up to 80% per delivery, with reduced energy consumption and carbon footprintcompared with road transportation.

The EHang Falcon smart drone, with eight propellers on four arms, is designed with multiple redundant systems for full backup, and smart and secure flight control modules. Its high-performance 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. As a fully-automated and intelligent solution, the drones, which can carry up to 5kg of cargo per flight, take off and land atop intelligent cabinets that were specifically developed for the fully autonomous loading and offloading of the shipment.The intelligent cabinets seamlessly connect with automated processes including sorting, scanning and storage of express mail, and will feature high-tech functions such as facial recognition and ID scanning.