A pilot program evaluating the practicality of drone deliveries in an urban environment has begun operating along the coast of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality in Israel.
Carried out in conjunction with technology developers Airwayz, SkylinX and FlytechIL, the drones will run along a predesignated flight path, creating a direct connection between the Reading area in the north and Jaffa Port in the south.
The trial is being coordinated in partnership with Nespresso, with coffee capsules delivered to a targeted group of customers along the route.
Shai Dinur, director of customer care and services at Nespresso Israel, said, “The consumer experience is king at Nespresso. I believe drone delivery could really transform the ordering process and our responsiveness, reducing delivery times and really going the extra mile for consumers who love exceptional coffee.”
Promoting solutions for a smart city, the pilot program views drone delivery as a solution to reduce traffic and decrease the carbon footprint of deliveries in Tel Aviv, while enhancing the consumer experience.
Ron Huldai, mayor of Tel Aviv, said, “The future is already here. We are beginning a pilot in Tel Aviv-Jaffa that will test, in a measured and correct way, the ability to use drones commercially in an urban space. We do that in a controlled manner to assess capabilities, but also to find the right balance for free and open urban air routes.”
Moving over urban areas, popular beaches and a busy port, the pilot scheme provides a suitably challenging route to demonstrate the commercial viability of drone delivery.
Using AI, Airwayz Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) plays a pivotal role in the program, managing multiple fleets of drones from different operators in the airspace at the same time. Drones and other low-flying aircraft are kept safe from collision and the process is optimized to allow drone operators to make deliveries as quickly as possible without overcrowding the airspace.
Eyal Zor, CEO of Airwayz, said, “This pilot program is another crucial step forward in showing that drone delivery not only works but has huge benefits in easing our overcrowded roads, contributing to sustainable last-mile delivery and meeting the superfast demands of today’s consumer. We will also show it to be cost-effective to prove the commercial benefit, but principally, it will be done safely.”
The pilot also sees Airwayz working in partnership with SkylinX, the developer and operator of the drone take-off and landing sites, and FlytechIL, which is piloting the drones. In addition, logistics company Flying Cargo will make the deliveries, and Gett Delivery, a global transport company, will help connect the new service to end customers.
Eden Attias, the chairman of SkylinX, said, “Transporting packages with drones will not only decrease traffic, shorten delivery times, save time and fuel and improve customer service, but will also decrease pollution while being much cheaper. In the not-too-distant future, the field of deliveries will become robotic and the entire process will be without human intervention. We are happy to be one of the companies leading the revolution in Israeli and global markets.”