FedEx Express is partnering with Elroy Air to test middle-mile autonomous drone delivery as part of its efforts to increase operational productivity, efficiency, and safety.
Chaparrall can autonomously take up between 300 and 500 pounds of freight and drop it off at destinations up to 300 miles distant, allowing it to fly greater distances without the need for airports or charging facilities.
Test flights moving shipments between FedEx sortation locations are slated to start in 2023. According to Kofi Asante, Elroy Air’s VP of business development and strategy, the firms will collaborate to establish testing environments both domestically and internationally in which to conduct flights.
According to a January news release, Elroy Air has already signed order agreements for over 500 aircraft with commercial, defense, and humanitarian customers. Mesa Airlines, a regional carrier with DHL, United Airlines, and American Airlines among its partners, plans to order 150 planes for quick freight and healthcare delivery.