The American FedEx will transport shipments by autonomous drone with a carrying capacity of over 220 kilograms

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US courier FedEx Express will test a new shipment machine next year. The autonomous hybrid-electric cargo drone from the Elroy Air startup offers a payload of up to 500 pounds (ie approx. 226 kg) and, thanks to its vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, does not need an airport or other infrastructure.

His task will be transport of packages over medium distances between company sorting rooms. Interestingly, the Californian company Elroy Air originally focused on autonomous passenger air taxis, but is now engaged in cargo delivery.

The packages are transported by an autonomous drone

Test flights are scheduled to begin in mid-2023. The Chaparral C1 will fly at low altitudes and deliver cargo up to 480 kilometers. The drone holds eight propellers in the air, the forward movement is ensured by another four propellers, all of which are powered by electric motors. Each of the propellers is controlled independently, which ensures good maneuverability in all weather conditions, including gusts of wind.

The cargo drone can land, store cargo, pick up more and take off again. All in a few minutes and without the need for any human intervention. According to the manufacturer, it can transport a variety of goods to loading docks five times faster than conventional methods.

Autonomous cargo flights could allow FedEx to transport shipments more efficiently between sorting centers than by land. The Chaparral C1 is not yet in production and its cruising speed is unknown. However, if it works as promised, it could be used, for example, to transport packages from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City.

Innovation in freight transport

The exponential growth of e-commerce has increased the demand for reliable and efficient transport and logistics solutions at all stages of the transport chain. FedEx believes in continued innovation and automation increase safety, efficiency and productivity.

“FedEx has built on innovation and is constantly looking for new technologies to help improve the logistics industry by improving security, efficiency and customer service.” said Joe Stephens, senior vice president of global planning.

Elroy Air was founded in November 2016 by Dave Merrill and Clint Cope to explore aerospace applications that could be operated by a large drone. According to Forbes magazine, the company managed to raise a total of $ 9.2 million by February 2019.

The original plan was to create a machine for an air taxi, but later the company decided to development of freight drone it will be less expensive, easier to manufacture and able to comply with regulations faster, which will ultimately allow it to get to market faster.

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