FedEx begins pilot drone delivery programme

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 30, 2019

For the first time in the United States, a drone has completed a scheduled commercial residential delivery to a home in Christiansburg, Virginia.

Wing Aviation conducted the drone delivery in collaboration with FedEx Express, as part of the US Department of Transportation‘s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (IPP). The delivery of a FedEx Express package marked the launch of the first scheduled, commercial residential drone delivery service and the first scheduled e-commerce delivery via drone delivery trial in the United States.

For the duration of the trial, Wing drones will transport select FedEx packages to qualifying homes in Christiansburg, demonstrating the benefits of drone delivery for last-mile delivery service. Wing has received the first authorisation from the FAA to conduct scheduled, commercial drone package delivery to residences.

“Innovation has been part of the FedEx DNA since day one, and we are always looking for new and better ways to deliver the world to our customers‘ doorsteps,” said Don Colleran, president and CEO of FedEx Express. “For our customers in Christiansburg, this collaboration will test the latest innovation in the last mile of a residential package delivery. 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.”

Customers of FedEx who live within designated delivery zones in Christiansburg, Virginia, and who opt-in to the Wing delivery service, will be able to receive eligible packages via drone during the trial programme, provided certain operating conditions are met. Wing‘s pilot programme also includes a collaboration with Walgreens, allowing programme participants to order health and wellness products through Wing‘s delivery app.

FedEx is also participating in the US DOT‘s Unmanned Aircraft System IPP in conjunction with the Memphis Shelby-County Airport Authority, conducting drone operations on airport property to generate data to help inform future UAS policymaking.