Stockholm, Sweden, December 6, 2021 — Today, Aerit, a Swedish startup founded in January, focused on sustainable drone delivery, announced that they will do a 1-year long pilot project in the Norrtälje Municipality archipelago. The project will be done in collaboration with ICAx, RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden), and the Norrtälje municipality administration.
The project was picked as part of a call for innovation with the scope “Drones in the service of the climate – autumn 2021” funded by the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova. Stakeholders of this project include businesses and the government, but further, this will provide relevant data for research, with the goal to study the advantages of using drones for last mile transportation and logistics over traditional means such as cars or ships, with a focus on climate neutrality.
Several large companies, such as Amazon, have previously considered making use of airborne drone technology for last mile delivery of goods to consumers. However, Amazon isn’t available in every country, and even where there are located, they still haven’t rolled out drone delivery holistically. Next to compliance requirements, there are also many safety aspects to keep an eye on when you talk about flying drones carrying payloads and flying across properties and people.
Like many archipelagos, the Norrtälje municipality also consists of many islands, and the area could be primarily considered to be more rural than urban. It is precisely this kind of location, which would make for a good testing ground for such a pilot project. Daniel Klemserud, business development manager for the Norrtälje municipality, states, “Norrtälje municipality looks forward to working with this innovative project. We see multiple opportunities for all companies and residents in the archipelago, countryside, and in our city centers. We believe this project has great potential for positive impact both environmentally and economically.”
Aerit’s Nimbi drone can carry 4 kg
Despite being a young startup, Aerit aspires to establish an airborne drone delivery network to cover Sweden. Their drone model is called Nimbi, is battery-powered and can carry a payload with a maximum capacity of four kilograms. They included an autonomous winching system on the drone, which allows it to pick up and drop off parcels without the need for operators or clients to do anything manually.
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“We are very excited about this project in collaboration with some of Sweden’s leading institutions,” said Alexander Perrien, Chief Executive Officer of Aerit. “We hope to show that Aerit can improve the lives of those in areas covered by our services, offset the climate impact of last mile delivery overall, and, of course, make things more convenient for everyone involved.”
Only being able to carry parcels with up to four kilograms reduces the overall volume of shipments that Aerit could process, but on the other hand, a large segment of all shippings in consumer-related logistics are within this category. Lei Chen, a senior researcher at RISE who leads the project, adds, “Drone delivery has the potential to reduce emissions from last-mile logistics. With reduced delivery time, it also helps to improve the service quality and accessibility in rural areas, which could support behavioral changes toward a climate-neutral society. We will, through the project, conduct research to generate insights on the solution’s potential to create societal benefits.”
ICAx is an organization with the objective to identify and analyze new business opportunities. They define customer needs and leverage innovation that could be a solution to modern-day problems. Emma Lindahl, co-lead at ICA, concludes, “We have a high level of enthusiasm for participation in this pilot study together with Peter Horwitz, the store owner of ICA Nära Gräddö Skärgårdshandel, and all pilot partners. Of course, drone delivery is a quickly developing field, and we believe that the timing is right to start exploring.” … “The study aligns very well with some of our strategic ambitions and our wishes to make every day a little easier for our customers with sustainable transport solutions.”
Next to this pilot project, Aerit projects the launch of continuous delivery services in additional selected areas around Sweden in 2022. On a global scale, the competition for airborne drone delivery and last-mile logistics includes companies and solutions such as Amazon Prime Air, Flytrex, Wing, UPS Flight Forward, Wingcopter, DHL Parcelcopter, FedEx, Flirtey, Zipline, Matternet, and Boeing.
YouTube: Aerit Tech Demo March 2021
Photo credit: The images shown are owned by Aerit and were provided as part of a press release.
Source: Aerit press release