DHL Express and Malaysia-based aviation solutions provider Pen Aviation have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to commercialise urgent cargo deliveries using unmanned aerial vehicles, in partnership with Raya Airways as the main drone operator.
The integrator announced that it will participate in a proof of commercialisation (POC) by end-2021 to demonstrate the commercial viability of time-critical cargo drone delivery for port logistics missions to serve the maritime industry.
The POC will undertake first-mile to last-mile port logistics missions jointly conducted by DHL, Pen Aviation, and Raya Airways, which will specifically demonstrate the cost and time optimisation of a fleet of drones to streamline port logistics, and goods distribution activities at commercial ports.
It is also expected to demonstrate Pen Aviation’s ‘ecosystem superiority’ to deliver high-volume automated logistics operations with a round-the-clock freight service powered by UAVs.
Under the agreement, DHL and Pen Aviation will work together to certify and utilise the PEN55V to move shipments to seaports over long distances. PEN55V, a medium-sized cargo drone, can pick up and drop off packages weighing up to 12 kilos from the cargo ship deck to the port and vice versa at both daytime and at nighttime.
It also requires three times less energy to fly than battery powered UAVs, paving the way for greener operations in line with Deutsche Post DHL Group’s aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
DHL Express said the long-term goal is to set up a mixed fleet of medium-sized PEN55Vs and the much larger PEN1360V, a heavy-sized cargo drone designed and manufactured in partnership with Cavok-UAS.
“Cargo drones will be the next generation of transportation in logistics,” said Julian Neo, Managing Director, DHL Express Malaysia & Brunei.
“The use of drone technology will enable us to reach rural communities especially in East Malaysia, where critical items such as vaccines, medicines, and medical devices are needed while allowing us to fulfil our purpose of Connecting People and Improving Lives,” he added.
This recent proof of commercialisation comes in the wake of the recent 12th Malaysian Plan announced in September, which highlighted the importance of seamless connectivity and reliability in transport and logistics.
DHL Express noted the initiative will be performed in compliance with the Civil Aviation Directive CAD 6011, a regulation by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia that allows the development of unmanned aircraft technologies.