REWE Group is participating in a pilot project for drone deliveries in the rural district of Michelstadt in Hesse, Germany.
Also known as 'DroLEx – Drone Load Bike Express Delivery', the pilot project is being conducted by the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and Wingcopter.
Other partners include REWE, Vodafone and Riese & Müller, as well as the city of Michelstadt. The project is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) as part of the funding guideline 'Innovative Air Mobility', REWE noted.
The orders are flown by a Wingcopter delivery drone to fixed landing points on the outskirts of villages, from where they are transported to the end customers by Riese & Müller cargo bikes.
Dr Robert Zores, chief digital innovation officer at REWE digital, stated, "We have been working on the topic of autonomous mobility in the research and innovations division for years and always have one goal in mind - to offer our customers new shopping experiences and to make shopping convenient and easy.
"We are pioneers and trailblazers in the German food retail sector. We are looking forward to testing offers in rural areas in addition to numerous projects in urban areas and to learning and further developing technology and processes together with the project partners."
The Pilot Project
Initially, the pilot project will cater to residents in the districts of Rehbach and Würzberg.
In recent years, many local retailers in these areas have closed their shops, forcing residents to travel to Michelstadt or other towns to shop – sometimes more than 10 kilometres each way.
The drone delivery service will enable residents to place orders weighing up to four kilograms.
Shoppers can use the service to order everyday goods such as long-life milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables, tinned food and other non-refrigerated products via the website www.liefermichel.de and have them delivered to their homes at a time of their choice.
The project will initially run until the end of 2023 and will continue if it proves successful, REWE added.