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DHL Express has launched its first fully automated urban drone delivery service in partnership with Chinese company EHang. It’s the first international courier company to do so in China.

DHL has created a customised 8km route for an undisclosed DHL customer between its service centre in Liaobu, Dongguan, Guangdong Province, and the customer’s premises.

The drone itself is from EHang’s new Falcon range, with “the highest level” of intelligence, automation, and safety features that allow it to navigate complex road and traffic conditions. Able to carry up to 5kg, it has eight propellers on four arms, GPS and visual identification tools, smart flight path planning, and network connection, landing on and taking off vertically from “intelligent cabinets” that are connected to systems involved with the sorting, scanning and storage of parcels.

DHL launches its first regular urban drone delivery service
Credit: Deutsche Post DHL Group

“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 [unmanned aerial vehicle] companies in the world,” said Wu Dongming, CEO of DHL Express China.

“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 in 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.”

DHL has had a particular focus on Chinese operations in recent years, including a strategic partnership with S.F. Holding and the joint development of a new trans-Eurasian rail route between China and Austria.

Source: Deutsche Post DHL Group

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