Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

ZTO completes trial delivery using drone

Steve Rogerson
August 1, 2017

Chinese express delivery company ZTO Express has successfully completed its first trial delivery using a drone in an industrial park in Zhejiang Province.
The drone, developed by a domestic drone producer and custom designed for ZTO, flew 14km from ZTO's sorting facility in Le Qing county, Zhejiang Province, to the office building of an enterprise customer in an economic development park in the same county.
The drone used in the trial delivery has a maximum range of 30km, is equipped with a 25-litre container and a maximum load carrying capacity of 10kg; it is pre-programmed to fly to its destination and does not require a remote control.
"Drone delivery is an innovative new application of technology that we are developing to further optimise and increase the efficiency of last-mile delivery," said Meisong Lai (pictured), founder and chief executive officer of ZTO. "This test successfully demonstrated that we can shave 60% off our traditional delivery times using drones.”
Using traditional ground transportation, this delivery would have taken approximately 50 minutes when taking traffic conditions, gate checks, wait times for elevators and so on into consideration.
“We were able to do this in less than 20 minutes using a drone,” said Lai. “We believe that drones can be best used for the delivery of parcels to rural areas in the future as they can improve accessibility, ease labour shortages, and reduce logistical costs and delivery time of the entire network."
ZTO provides express delivery service as well as other value-added logistics services through its nationwide network coverage in China.