Going for the last-mile: FedEx pilots its first drone technology project
DRONE technology is continuously evolving in terms of its features, functionality, and navigational systems.
As a result, different key players are actively taking on drone projects to explore how the technology can be leveraged across industries.
This is especially evident among logistics and transport companies that have been trying to deploy drones for commercial operations.
For instance, last year, a range of companies in Singapore tested out ‘goods delivery’ using drones to observe its practicality. However, a scaled deployment of the technology in the country is yet to be finalized.
However, FedEx, a courier delivery service company, has recently extended its innovative efforts by launching its first-ever commercial drone delivery.
As part of the US Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, the courier giant is trialing a drone service to send customer’s packages to residential areas in a small town (Christiansburg) in the state of Virginia.
The drone recently completed a right-on-the-doorstep Express package delivery within a scheduled time, marking a first in United States history.
Despite it only being a trial, it was a defining moment for FedEx as they are consistently aiming to improve last-mile e-commerce delivery.
“For our customers in Christiansburg, this collaboration will test the latest innovation in the last mile of a residential package delivery,” said FedEx Express President & CEO Don Colleran.
FedEx customers who opted to receive their packages via drones and live within the designated zones in Christianburg are eligible for the experience.
However, as of now, the drone will only be delivering selected goods to meet specific criteria as this remains an attempt to explore the technology’s performance capacity.
“We hope that this latest addition to our delivery options will enhance the last-mile service for urgent same-day deliveries, customers in rural or semi-rural areas, and other exceptional delivery needs.”
While FedEx is accelerating its efforts with drones, pharmacy store chain operator Walgreens is also participating in the US-regulator-led trial to deliver health and wellness products ordered by customers via its e-commerce app.
The commercial interest in the trial indicates a shift in logistics operations and changes the way companies might look to meet customers’ needs, especially when it comes to last-mile delivery.
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