Ele.me, the leading food delivery platform in China, announced on Tuesday that the company will put drones to use for food delivery services in Shanghai and launch the first drone delivery routes in China at the same time.
Ele.me received approval to launch 17 drone delivery routes within the Shanghai Jinshan Industrial Park. The longest flight route is 3.5 kilometers and the shortest is 1.5 kilometers, with the average flight distance of 2.2 kilometers. The drone service zone covers a total area of 58 square kilometers and provide services for over 100 online food delivery restaurants, according to Xinhua News Agency.
If you think that the costumers will be seeing drones on their doorsteps then you’re wrong. Drones will be responsible for majority of the trip while a delivery personnel at the drone departure and landing locations will each be responsible for bringing the meals onto the drone and finally delivering the meals to the costumers.
On September 25 of last year, Ele.me launched its third-generation food delivery drone E7 at the World Unmanned Systems Conference. The vehicle E7 can reach a top speed of 65 kilometers per hour, with a range of 20 kilometers and maximum load of six kilograms, according to Yicai Global.
The drones being deployed in Shanghai this time are fourth-generation E7s that have been upgraded in both operating stability and carrying capacity of up to 10 kilograms of weight.
In 2016, Ele.me initiated the concept of “future logistics”, which consists of three stages: intelligent deployment, man-machine delivery and unmanned delivery. Ele.me is also conducting research and development a new generation smart helmet equipped with windshield display and smart bluetooth headset. It will help ensure riders’ safety and improve the efficiency of delivery.
Kang Jia, COO of Ele.me believes that compared with road delivery, the advantages of drone delivery are more obvious in medium and long distance delivery. Introducing drones can help extend the distance of take-away delivery, and reduce the delivery cost. In addition, drones can also help riders improve efficiency and speed by eliminating weather influences and avoiding traffic jams.
In the future, drone delivery will continue to serve as a pillar of Ele.me’s “future logistics” strategy, and be applied to various delivery scenarios.