KYIV, Ukraine — On July 29, 2021, UAVita Systems made history with a world aviation industry first – autonomous drone delivery of commercial packages between two major cities.
The Nova poshta commercial flight of UAVita’s DISCOVERY D-80 drone between Kyiv and Kharkiv, two major cities in Ukraine, was 480 km between takeoff and landing and carried a load of five parcels for delivery. The flight was fully autonomous from takeoff to waypoint navigation to landing and crossed several rivers, highways, avoiding populated areas, infrastructure objects and restricted airspace.
Airspace for the flight was reserved with local air traffic control, state air services, and several military authorities. The flight was operated by UAVita’s local Ukraine company, Aerodrone.
“The flight went exactly as planned,” said Yuri Pederiy, CTO of UAVita. “Nova poshta was very pleased with the results.”
DISCOVERY’s average air speed was 100 kph, with an altitude of 300 meters and total flight time was 4:45 hours a full hour ahead of schedule due to a tail wind.
“Commercial UAV with packages over the distance of 480 km is first in the world,” said Oleksandr Bulba, CEO of Nova poshta. “Beside Nova poshta there is no other logistic company that has completed this flight. Our plans are to shorten the flight time to 3 hours to cover the same distance and scale up package drone delivery and make it more affordable to our customers.”
Nova poshta’s and UAVita’s next autonomous parcel delivery test flight will take place in late August between the cities of Kyiv and L’viv. The target is to eventually reduce the flight time even further by deploying UAVita’s next generation drones.
“Most conventional drone deliveries are focused on last mile delivery within few kilometers. UAVita took the leap and developed intercity package delivery. This capability adds more flexibility to shipping urgent and high value packages especially to remote locations that are difficult to reach by ground transportation. Combining last mile and intercity delivery can further automate the logistic chain and optimize the operating costs for the courier companies,” explained Pederiy.
Nova poshta is a private Ukrainian postal and courier company and the leader of the logistics in the Ukraine market that provides express delivery of documents, freight and parcels for individuals and businesses. The company delivers shipments through more than 8500 branches, 6700 lockers, and to the customer’s physical address. In 2020 Nova poshta delivered over 318 million shipments throughout Ukraine.
UAVita is a designer, manufacturer and integrator of purpose-built fixed wing high payload autonomous drones. UAVita’s DISCOVERY D-80 drone was recently awarded top place in the Krypto Labs Drone X Challenge 2020. The DISCOVERY is an industry leading drone with a maximum payload of 80 kg and non-stop flight time of 10 hours or 1000 km. UAVita is set to launch their next generation fixed wing drone that has a maximum payload of 340 kg and non-stop flight time of 30 hours or 4500 km.