The start of a limited delivery trial in Guangzhou, China, as part of the joint development of a drone cargo service, has been announced at XAG headquarters.
Since July 2019, Airbus and XAG teams have combined efforts to develop a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) service to start testing deliveries.
This MVP is built on top of the P30 platform, XAG’s plant protection drone.
The objective of the trial is to validate a highly automated delivery flight from the vendor to the destination and back, across precisely pre-selected pathways.
Joining the extensive experience of XAG in designing, manufacturing, and operating small drones at scale – tens of thousands of drone flights every day – to Airbus’ expertise in design, engineering, assembly, and certification of aircraft of various form factors, this trial will create feedback cycles to learn and iterate on a drone cargo service in China.
In this trial, a select group of customers in Guangzhou, can order their favourite food from a nearby noodle shop through the Drone Cargo WeChat application.
The fresh food is prepared and then the cooked dish, carefully placed into an insulated box, is itself loaded into the waiting drone on a custom locker.
Meng Yu was the lucky first customer of this novel service.
She ordered a Lanzhou beef noodle dish, and on receipt, said: “This is so cool. We do not have a company canteen so my colleagues and I order takeaway every day. Deliveries could never be sent upstairs in the past, but this time it just comes to me from the sky right to our roof terrace.”
Adding: “My noodles were hot as I like them and it took under 15 minutes from ordering to enjoying. Usually, I had to wait for up to an hour during peak lunch hour and often the food was cold.”
Justin Gong, vice president and co-founder of XAG, commented: “With 12 years of experience in UAS development and manufacturing, XAG keeps pace with changing demands in the field of agriculture.”
He added: “Agility and innovation are built in our DNA. Partnering with Airbus to explore drone delivery service enables us to learn from its 50 years’ experience of flying and air safety management. Foreseeing the broad prospect of drone applications, XAG determines to consistently improve the aerial system, to better serve residents in both rural and urban area.”