One of China’s largest agricultural drone companies and Airbus are teaming up to launch aerial delivery trials.
XAG announced the pilot program last week on the heels of a joint agreement signed by the two companies in July at the World Economic Forum.
During the trial initiative, drones will carry food deliveries from a noodle shop to select customers in Guangzhou via the Drone Cargo WeChat app.
The maiden voyage saw one of XAG’s plant-protection drones, the P30, deliver a meal on a pre-determined, one-mile route to a rooftop landing pad in under 5 minutes.
The first customer, Meng Yu, enjoyed an order of Lanzhou beef noodles. “This is so cool. We do not have a company canteen, so my colleagues and I order takeaway every day,” she said.
“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. 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.”
With a take-off weight under 55 pounds and a payload of up to nine pounds, the P30 flies at an altitude of just under 400 feet at speeds up to 27 mph.
Founded in 2007, XAG specializes in precision agriculture and remote-sensing drones and has deployed crop-dusting UAV since 2013. Last year, the company’s fleet completed more than 6.5 million flights using 40,000 drones, according to a company release.
“With 12 years of experience in UAS development and manufacturing, XAG keeps pace with changing demands in the field of agriculture,” Justin Gong, XAG Vice President and co-founder said in a statement.
“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. XAG determines to consistently improve the aerial system, to better serve residents in both rural and urban areas.”
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