Abu Dhabi to trial drone delivery programme

Medical supplies, documents and fresh food will be dropped off in selected areas of the city

A demonstration of a delivery drone at the Umex exhibition of robotics and unmanned systems at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. AFP
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Drone delivery will soon be a reality for some Abu Dhabi residents — as a trial programme is due to launch in the capital soon.

The drones will work short distances dropping off vital medical supplies, fresh food and documents to specified Emirates Post sites in Abu Dhabi.

Parcels and documents will be later be carried by drones over longer distances in the emirate as part of the initiative by Maqta Gateway, the digital arm of AD Ports Group, Emirates Post and SkyGo, an aerial logistics provider.

The plan is to assess demand and gauge the benefits of delivering small to medium-sized packages using drones while providing real-time tracking.

No more information about the drones or the areas that will be included in the trial period was given, but officials said details of the trial run will be released at the end of the year with plans for a commercial launch next year.

“Drone services could enable greater convenience and faster delivery times for customers across Abu Dhabi, while ensuring a positive environmental impact,” said Noura Al Dhaheri, chief executive of the digital cluster at Abu Dhabi Ports Group.

She said Maqta Gateway was keen on collaborating in projects that would transform trade and logistics.

Abdulla Al Ashram, group chief executive of Emirates Post Group, said the postal operator was interested in providing customers with new options to receive small and medium packages.

“By supporting this project, we are confident that we can alleviate road congestion and reduce fuel consumption in last-mile deliveries,” he said.

Mohammed Al Dhaheri, chief executive of SkyGo, said the company’s main partner in the drone project is the General Civil Aviation Authority.

This is yet another step in the process of transforming global trade to becoming more efficient, sustainable, and environmentally responsible,” he said.

There have been a number of drone demonstrations in the UAE to display the advantages of deploying them in tasks such as firefighting, monitoring the weather, surveying and even planting seeds.

The use of drones for delivery services is growing in other parts of the world. Amazon is working on developing its own system to reduce “last mile” delivery costs.

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Updated: October 14, 2022, 1:54 PM