DHL said Monday it will use more than 4,000 heavy-cargo drones provided by Dronamics for its logistics and parcel network in Europe. The Black Swan unmanned aircraft can carry 770 pounds up to 1,500 miles.
It’s the second large customer Dronamics has signed in three weeks after announcing a partnership with Hellmann Logistics to develop a cross-border cargo delivery service by early next year.
DHL (DXE: DPW) said Dronamics would support same-day cargo delivery by covering the middle mile of a shipment’s journey in select industries and markets with time-critical requirements, such as e-commerce and pharmaceuticals. The companies will work together to establish the dedicated drone-delivery network.
The partnership includes mutual exclusivity in selected industries, a joint announcement said. DHL, one of the Big Three integrated logistics companies, will handle the first- and last-mile connections.
The contract has the potential to generate $2.1 billion in revenue for Dronamics, the company said.
Dronamics, which is headquartered in London and Sofia, Bulgaria, will provide technology and expertise to operate the unmanned aircraft. It claims the Black Swan drones can make same-day deliveries at up to 80% less cost than any other aircraft. The first commercial flights are expected to begin next year.
The drone developer plans to eliminate carbon from its operations by using sustainable biofuels by 2027, helping DHL achieve its sustainability goals.
Last week, Dronamics signed Bodensee-Airport Friedrichshafen as its fourth airport partner in Germany, bringing its droneport network to 39 airports in 12 countries. The airport is located in the industrial state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, which has heavy concentrations of automotive and aerospace companies.
Dronamics was founded in 2014 by the Rangelov brothers, an economist and an aerospace engineer, and has won the International Air Transport Association’s Innovation Award.