Cargo Drone Delivery: DHL Express Malaysia and Pen Aviation Signs MOU

DHL Express Malaysia and Pen Aviation seal a strategic partnership to participate in a proof of commercialisation (POC) for time-critical deliveries with unmanned aerial vehicles

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This is how the cargo drone may look

DHL Express and Pen Aviation, an Unmanned Automated Solutions (UAS) ecosystem provider, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to commercialise time-critical cargo deliveries with unmanned aerial vehicles using PEN UAS-based solutions. Raya Airways, the cargo drone operator, is a partner in this endeavour.

DHL will participate in a Proof of Commercialisation (POC) by the end of 2021 to demonstrate the commercial viability of time-critical cargo drone delivery. PEN55V, Pen Aviation’s medium-size cargo drone, will pick up and drop off packages weighing up to 12kg from the cargo ship deck to the port. The POC will undertake first-to-last-mile port logistics missions jointly conducted by DHL, Pen Aviation, and Raya Airways.

Cargo Drone Delivery: DHL Express Malaysia and Pen Aviation Signs MOU
Julian Neo, Managing Director, DHL Express Malaysia & Brunei and Jean-Bernard Boura, Managing Director and Founder of Pen Aviation during the virtual MoU signing

“Cargo drones will be the next generation of transportation in logistics. This POC comes in the wake of the recent 12th Malaysian Plan announcement where the Government of Malaysia highlighted the importance of seamless connectivity and reliability in transport and logistics. 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,” said Julian Neo, Managing Director, DHL Express Malaysia &  Brunei.

Under this agreement, DHL and Pen Aviation will work together to certify and utilise the PEN55V to move shipments to seaports over long distances. The long-term goal is to set up a mixed fleet of PEN55V and PEN1360V, Pen Aviation’s heavy-size cargo drones designed and manufactured in partnership with Cavok-UAS

Jean-Bernard Boura, Managing Director and Founder of Pen Aviation, said, “We decided to tackle every single pain point that hinders unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based businesses today, starting with UAV  designs that can meet aviation certification standards. But above and beyond the UAV design, we are excited to confront our overall ecosystem to DHL demanding cargo environment and demonstrate our business enabling logistics solutions, whatever the mile, whatever the mode of transportation.”

The PEN55V microturbine uses three times less energy to fly than battery-powered UAVs for the same cargo capacity, and there are no pollution issues associated with battery production, charging, or recycling. This solution provided by PEN UAS helps our drive toward clean operations for climate protection, which is in accordance with Deutsche Post DHL Group’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 (“Mission 2050”).

This initiative will be carried out in accordance with the Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority’s Civil Aviation Directive CAD 6011, which permits the development of unmanned aircraft technologies. The POC will exhibit Pen Aviation’s ecosystem excellence in delivering high-volume automated logistics operations with a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week UAV-based freight service.