Drone food delivery lifts off in Jinshan
More than 20 drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, began delivering meals in suburban Jinshan District yesterday.
The first 17 approved drone routes for food delivery are located within Shanghai Jinshan Industrial Park. The drones, operated by online food delivery platform Ele.me, will serve more than 100 catering businesses in an area of 58 square kilometers.
After a delivery man puts food into a box carried by the drone, it will fly to the location of the buyer by following planned routes. Another delivery man for the platform will collect the food after the drone lands and deliver it to its destination.
Each drone can carry up to 5 kilograms, and cover a maximum delivery distance of 3.5 kilometers. The drones can reach a height of about 70 meters during flight.
The drones have also been installed with sensors to detect abnormal situations.
A drone service center has been set up at the industrial park.
The routes will avoid crowded areas and fly mostly above green belts, said Huang Tao, deputy general manager of the park.
The drones will significantly cut the workload of delivery persons and improve efficiency, Ele.me said. The average distance flown by the drones during trial operation was 2.2 kilometers.
Customers will receive their food about 20 minutes after making an order, on average, compared with 30 minutes using standard delivery methods.
Drones will be deployed in more areas across Shanghai depending on the outcome of operations at Jinshan Industrial Park, the platform said.
Ele.me has also tested robots that can use elevators and deliver food to customers at office buildings. More than 500 office and residential buildings in China are expected to be covered by the year end.