Sustainable drone delivery startup Aerit has completed a pilot project covering households across a 100km2 (38 square mile) area in Norrtälje, Sweden. The flights, conducted beyond visual line-of-sight, provided on-demand grocery and product delivery to residential homes in the area.
Funded by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova, the project was a joint effort between Aerit, ICAx, Research Institutes of Sweden and Norrtälje Kommun to evaluate the benefits of drone delivery as well as study public reception of the services.
The deliveries took place over six days in extreme weather conditions including snow and temperatures below -10°C. 10 of the 30 households who registered for the project were selected for participation. Once onboarded, customers could request delivery through the ICA Pronto mobile application.
Alex Perrien, CEO of Aerit, said, “The pilot project has been an unqualified success. We reliably provided access to goods and services in harsh weather conditions to locations that normally require several modes of transportation to reach. We have replaced short car and boat trips to the store with Nimbi flights, reducing travel time while improving safety and sustainability. In addition to the support of Vinnova and our many project partners, none of this would have been possible without the innovative leadership at Transportstyrelsen [which] is working hard to maintain competitiveness of the Swedish airspace.”
The Nimbi delivery drones, designed and built by Aerit, are battery-powered and have a maximum payload capacity of 4kg (10 lbs). Nimbi features a proprietary winching system that allows for both package pickup and drop-off without the need for supporting infrastructure.
Since its founding in January 2021, Aerit’s milestones have included regulatory approval for operations under the EASA SORA framework and the successful completion of Sweden’s first commercial drone delivery of food in October 2021. Aerit plans to launch continuous delivery services in select areas around Sweden in 2023.