The delivery of goods by drones is planned to be launched in the capital in 2024. The experiment in one of the districts of Zelenograd will be carried out by the Center for Urban Air Mobility Management, the head of the organization, Andrei Anikin, said at the Russian Public-Private Partnership Week. Izvestia writes that the company has already equipped take-off pads, installed ground flight monitoring stations and a system for monitoring satellite navigation signals. It is assumed that the drones will deliver parcels weighing up to 30 kg and ready-made food.
Meanwhile, such a service will require serious preparation of sites for receiving cargo, explained Oleg Ponfilenok, director of the Copter Express company:
“First of all, you can’t just fly to an address, no one does that. Everyone flies according to coordinates, and all the points where they need to get to must be worked out.
That is, we are not talking about flying to an arbitrary address, but about the fact that the operating company for each delivery point, each address, each house that it wants to connect to this system must thoroughly study, select specific locations, think through , how the goods will be unloaded directly to the client, how to ensure control of receipt.
After all, roughly speaking, if you simply lower the parcel onto the ground, it may end up in a puddle. That is, it must be a distributed network – from where to where – and then work is carried out only on these connected points.
So, from an infrastructure point of view, standard nine-story buildings in Moscow are still not ready for this.
Somewhere under the windows there are trees, somewhere there are wires, somewhere there are lampposts. That is, adaptation to specific delivery locations is required everywhere.”
The Urban Air Mobility Control Center said it has already concluded eight agreements with customers. Izvestia clarifies that the partners, in particular, are Vkusville, X5 Group, Russian Post, Dodo Pizza, MTS and Capital Group.
However, none of them confirmed to Kommersant FM that contracts had already been concluded. The companies noted that the project is still at the discussion stage.
In addition, for many market players, the idea of sending goods by drones generally looks dubious. Thus, Sergey Zatylkov, founder of the healthy nutrition network Fitness Menu, which also delivers its boxes to clients, admitted that he does not trust drones:
“I just basically don’t understand all this work from the beginning. There are a lot of disadvantages. A drone won’t fly into an apartment or through a window. That is, the client will have to go down somewhere.
It often happens that the customer does not get in touch or, for example, went somewhere on business. So it can be difficult to work with people, but with technology it will be even more difficult.”
Some Kommersant FM interlocutors doubt that the experimental service will ultimately be able to obtain permission to fly drones. Since the beginning of May 2023, there has been a ban on the launch of UAVs in Moscow.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin explained that drones complicate the work of law enforcement agencies.
In addition, Zelenograd, the territory chosen for the experiment, is located near Sheremetyevo Airport, recalled Nikita Danilov, founder of the Flydrone company:
“Firstly, a drone that carries cargo must be insured, including against damage by third parties. And, probably, companies should already come up with a cargo insurance mechanism.
Secondly, it must be equipped with a transponder, because such a drone must be visible to everyone. As a matter of fact, this will be partly compliance with flight safety.
Third is routing. Indeed, for logistics purposes, the most reasonable thing to do, especially in urban areas, is to build routes. That is, you must coordinate the flight with air navigation and the municipality. At the moment, the airspace of most regions is closed.”
Delivering goods by drone has long been the practice of many companies around the world, but transporting ready-made meals is still a difficult task.
The leader in this segment is the Chinese Meituan, which specializes in working in urban areas with dense buildings. The company has refused doorstep delivery – the drone leaves the order at special kiosks, which are often located on the roofs of buildings.
Operators monitor the devices. Each has 10 drones under control, and in an emergency, the controller can take control.
Last year, Meituan drones completed more than 100,000 deliveries in Shenzhen. Its net profit last year was close to $7 billion.
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