Imagine waiting for your take-away pizza and seeing this weird sort of aircraft swoop from the sky to drop it at your feet. No more waiting. No more driving. That was today’s experience for Meng Yu of Guangzhou, China, the first person in history to receive a commercial drone delivery. She had her Lanzhou beef noodles delivered to her door by a Project Vesper Mk1 cargo drone.
It took only three minutes to reach her, as she told Agriculture technology company XAircraft (XAG):
“We do not have a company canteen so my colleagues and I order takeaway every day. 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!”
XAG partnered with Airbus to operate this Minimal Viable Product (MVP) project, last July. The drones weigh less than 25 kilos, carry up to four kilos, and fly at an altitude of less than 400 feet at up to 12 meters per second.
Headquartered in Guangzhou, China, XAG has operated crop-dusting drones for more than six years, and now owns more than 40,000 drones that have totalled over 6.5 million flights – that’s more than half of China’s commercial drone flights. Equipped with visual recognition, artificial intelligence, farmland information, and crop data, XAG also provides agricultural mapping drones and agricultural hardware services.
Last week, XAG & Airbus launched their first delivery drone service to see whether it could give customers in Guangzhou their pre-ordered noodles from a nearby noodle restaurant in less than five minutes. Customers could order their noodle snack from the Drone Cargo WeChat application; the packed dish would then be loaded onto the waiting drone and flown to the waiting customer. The plan worked. As Meng Yu declared:
“Usually, I had to wait for up to an hour during peak lunch hour and often the food was cold. [This time] my noodles were hot as I like them and it took under 15 minutes from ordering to enjoying!”