FedEx Express and Elroy Air, a California-based autonomous systems and software company, are partnering to build the first end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air cargo system. FedEx will test Elroy’s autonomous system in its midstream logistics operations. Self-contained craft will move shipments between FedEx sorting stations.
Elroy first announced his self-driving aircraft in January this year. The aircraft is an electric VTOL (eVTOL) self-contained air cargo system that can lift 300 to 500 pounds of cargo and can also travel up to 300 miles. Perhaps best of all, it doesn’t need to use infrastructure or airports or stop for a charge during those long flights.
With shipping demands increasing due to the explosive growth of e-commerce over the past two years, FedEx is looking for logistics solutions that can provide reliable and efficient transportation across all parts of the supply chain.
This partnership and testing is part of FedEx’s ongoing exploration of emerging technologies and how these technologies, such as autonomous drones, can improve the supply chain and provide better service. When you cut out infrastructure, traffic, and airports, FedEx may be able to reach more consumers faster.
The two companies have been collaborating since January 2020 and there are plans to continue the collaboration in order to obtain Federal Aviation Administration certifications and begin flight testing in 2023. More and more.[View source.]