Tel Aviv trials delivery of coffee pods by drone


Nespresso is trialing the delivery of coffee pods by drones in Tel Aviv in a six month pilot program. 

The project involves unmanned traffic management (UTM) provider Airwayz, fround infrastrure company Skylinx and FlytechIL piloting the drones.

The trials will evaluate drone delivery in an urban environment in terms of safety, noise and privacy considerations and other challenges relating to flying drones in populated areas. There are currently three drones involved in the testing and no fixed number of deliveries per day.

The route involves the drones traveling along the shore between Jaffa in the south and the mouth of the Hayarkon River in the north, which is a total of just below 7km (4 miles) over urban areas, popular beaches and a busy port. The route will be adjusted as the pilot program progresses, with the drones scheduled to go inland along the river, providing further challenges for the UTM.

Nespresso will deliver coffee capsules to a targeted group of customers along the route, creating multiple stops along the route paving the way for the future of efficient and sustainable last mile subscription delivery.

Shai Dinur, director of customer care and services at Nespresso Israel said, “I believe drone delivery could really transform the ordering process and our responsiveness, reducing delivery times and really going the extra mile for consumers who love exceptional coffee.”

It is hoped that drone delivery will help reduce traffic and decrease the carbon footprint of delivery in Tel Aviv. The mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai, welcomed the move and said, “The pilot will test in a measured and correct way the ability to use drones commercially in an urban space. 

“We are doing it in a controlled manner to assess capabilities and to find the right balance for free and open urban air routes.”

The trial is large step forward for commercial drone deliveries and a pivotal one for Israeli-based company Airwayz. The company’s UTM will manage multiple fleets of drones from different operators simultaneously, while keeping other low-flying aircraft safe from collision and optimizing the airspace so that deliveries can be made as quickly as possible without overcrowding. 

Airwayz AI-based UTM system learns the urban environment and enables an automated system for real-time management of unmanned airspace.

“This pilot program is another crucial step forward in showing that drone delivery not only works, but has huge benefits in easing our overcrowded roads, contributing to sustainable last mile delivery and meeting the superfast demands of today’s consumer,” said Airwayz CEO, Eyal Zor.

 “We will also show it to be cost-effective to prove the commercial benefit, but principally, it will be done safely.” 

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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