Logistics and transportation solutions provider Aramex has conducted a series of test drone flights to complete the pilot phase of its Future Delivery Program in Muscat, Oman.
The test flights were conducted in partnership with AI drone logistics company UVL Robotics and marked the end of the first phase of the multi-phase program in which Aramex intends to transition its fleet to emission-free electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The pilot focused primarily on testing a fully autonomous drone to deliver parcels safely and efficiently across various terrains, distances and weather conditions in Muscat.
Aramex plans to expand its drone delivery testing across the Middle East and other core markets where it operates. To ensure a comprehensive evaluation, the company will test a multi-modal approach that will include a combination of drones and other electric and autonomous vehicles for last-mile deliveries. In addition, the use of drones is in line with Aramex’s commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as it yields environmental benefits including a reduction in carbon emissions and traffic congestion. Since 2017, Aramex has been testing and adopting electric vehicles in its fleet as a greener alternative. Its Jordan operation has undertaken continuous electric vehicle testing across Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt. Aramex plans to deploy an electric fleet across its core markets as a part of its wider sustainability mandate.
Alaa Saoudi, chief operating officer at Aramex Express, said, “Rolling out the Future Delivery Program demonstrates Aramex’s market leadership in last-mile solutions in the region. We believe the next generation of last-mile solutions, including drones and autonomous vehicles, will be a game-changer as it ensures efficient delivery while being eco-friendly. Through the successful drone delivery testing with UVL Robotics, we have proved that these automated modes of delivery will enable us to further enhance the speed, accessibility and reliability of package deliveries, especially to remote areas with hard-to-reach terrain. In addition, the program will support our sustainability ambitions to significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions and reach carbon neutrality by 2030.”
Angad Singh, global director of innovation at Aramex, said, “The success of the pilot drone delivery is a remarkable milestone of our Future Delivery Program, which is a key program in our innovation and sustainability roadmap. The autonomous drone technology provided by UVL Robotics could potentially cut transit times by half on complex routes, which means we can now add more value for our customers and consignees as we can accelerate the delivery of packages across different sectors including e-commerce, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, among others. We look forward to scaling up this product for our customers and deploying it across all markets where we operate.”
Moosa Al Balushi, regional director of UVL Robotics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, said, “We strongly believe that last-mile delivery by drone is the important part of future logistics and one of the key goals in the business’s sustainability strategy. Drones produce 26 times less CO2 emissions than cars, which has a positive impact on the region’s ecology. Moreover, the use of drones can significantly reduce operating costs. We are looking forward to scaling up our collaboration with Aramex as a recognized industry leader – increasing the number of routes and the share of drone delivery in the total number of shipments.”