MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FedEx Express announced that its partnership with Elroy Air, a company that supports the airspace delivery of goods and services, will begin launching test flights of the Chaparral aircraft technology in 2023, as the two companies continue to work towards reinventing the way consumers receive online e-commerce orders.
Elroy Air released its Chaparral autonomous aircraft in January 2022, which is an automatic vertical take-off and landing aerial cargo system, better known as a drone.
The drone technology can transport 300 to 500 pounds of goods and merchandise and deliver it by air as far as 300 miles away. The technology is designed to be unmanned and take-off, hover and land vertically, very similar to the functionality of a helicopter.
During the pandemic, shopping online became a regular activity for many.
According to Digital Commerce, the Coronavirus pandemic added $219 billion to U.S. e-commerce sales from 2020 to 2021. Although online sales decreased as more people received the vaccine and began to spend more time outside of their homes, e-commerce still grew at 14.2% in 2021.
FedEx said that the “exponential growth of e-commerce” has increased the demand for faster, satisfactory and reliable delivery of goods and services. The company said that it believes this new technology will allow its 600,000 team members to increase their “productivity” and “efficiency”.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and we are always looking toward new technologies to help enhance the logistics industry through improved safety, efficiency and customer service,” Joe Stephens, senior vice president for FedEx Express, said. “We look forward to continued testing and learning throughout our collaboration with Elroy Air.”
According to Fedex, FedEx Express shipping delivers to most U.S. locations within three business days. If successful, the drone technology could be a game changer.
By partnering with Elroy Air, FedEx can potentially simplify its freight delivery process, speeding up the shipping of cargo and goods by eliminating boundaries that it faces when transporting items through grounds and airplane delivery methods.
“We are proud to work with FedEx to build the next generation of express logistics,” said Kofi Asante, Elroy Air’s vice president of business development and strategy. “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 how we get goods to people around the world.”
The FedEx Express and Elroy Air partnership allows FedEx to challenge its competitor, Amazon, to perform at new, higher levels to satisfy customers.