FedEx to test autonomous cargo delivery by drone

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express carrier, is partnering with California Bay Area-based Elroy Air, which is building the world’s first end-to-end self-contained vertical takeoff and landing air cargo system.

As the first such agreement in the United States, FedEx Express will develop plans to test Elroy Air’s Chaparral autonomous air cargo system within the company’s midstream logistics operations, moving shipments between locations of sorting. This is the latest initiative from FedEx in its efforts to explore and adopt emerging technologies on its networks.

The exponential growth of e-commerce has accelerated the demand for reliable and efficient transportation and logistics solutions at all stages of the supply chain. FedEx believes that continued innovation and automation will improve the safety, efficiency and productivity of the company’s 600,000 team members as they continue to move the world forward.

“FedEx was built on innovation and we are always on the lookout for new technologies to help improve the logistics industry through improved safety, efficiency and customer service,” said Joe Stephens, senior vice president, global planning, engineering and technology at FedEx Express. “We look forward to continued testing and learning as we work with Elroy Air.”

Elroy Air announced its autonomous Chaparral aircraft in January 2022. The Chaparral aircraft is an eVTOL air cargo system that can autonomously pick up 300 to 500 pounds of cargo and deliver it by air up to 300 miles. The Chaparral is capable of performing longer distance flights without the need for additional infrastructure, such as airports or charging stations.

“We are proud to work with FedEx to build the next generation of express logistics,” said Kofi Asante, vice president of business development and strategy for Elroy Air. “When you’re not limited by challenging infrastructure, traffic or airports, logistics can reach more people faster than ever before. We look forward to working together to create a new future for the way we get goods to people around the world. »

FedEx and Elroy Air have been working together since January 2020 and will continue their collaboration to pursue certifications and begin flight testing in 2023.

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