Now, there’s another special function for drones as a leading internet food delivery in China will be using a fleet of drones to improve efficiency in delivering food to their customers.
Ele.me says the drones would be able to carry more food. Its new model, the “E7” made its debut during the World Unmanned Systems Conference in Shanghai over the weekend. It’s also the third-generation drone to be tried by Ele.me.
The E7 drones as a mode of food delivery can carry up to six kilos of food and fly as far as 20 kilometers at a maximum speed of 65 km per hour. Such parameters will allow for its commercial use in economic giant China.
The E7 from the Chinese start-up will begin its delivery trials soon based out of a few sites in a mix of Chinese cities. The company says it will unveil an even-more advanced drone model next year, around April.
The company is already making more than 10 million daily food deliveries in populous China. The company admits, however, that at present, they do not have a timetable for the mass adoption of drones for food delivery as their drone technology still needs further improvement. Relevant plans also need approval from regulatory authorities.
As early as last year, however, Ele.me announced a “future logistics” initiative with the target of replacing its human courier network with more innovative transport methods in the next five years. The company is backed up by the world’s largest e-commerce operator Alibaba Group. It has also acquired its smaller rival Baidu Waimai in China.
The company hopes that well-managed drone deliveries will allow for even bigger growth in orders, especially for longer-distances places. Using drones for delivery is projected to lead to huge cost and efficiency savings.
There are still hurdles in flying drones in China from regulations including airspace restrictions and operating licenses.
China’s second-largest e-commerce platform operator, ID has also been making frequent drone deliveries in some areas of Chinese cities like Xi’an in Shanxi province and Suqian in Jiangsu province.
Research from Trust data shows China’s food delivery market is dominated by people who are from more remote and less developed areas. Its latest study said 51.5 percent of food delivery app users were in third-tier cities, compared with 33.3 percent in second-tier, and 15.2 percent first-tier cities.