On July 5, 2023, Meituan, a leading Chinese lifestyle-related services company engaged in food delivery and other services, announced the development of its self-developed 4th generation small drone and a new urban low-altitude logistics solution. The goal is to provide more efficient and convenient delivery services.
The new drone is a rotary-wing aircraft (multi-rotor) type and utilizes 12S ternary lithium-ion batteries. It is equipped with a stereo vision depth camera, 4D imaging radar, and other sensors. With a maximum payload of 2.5 kg and a maximum range of 10 km, it can typically complete a delivery mission within a radius of 3 km in less than 15 minutes. Compared to the previous generation model, the fourth generation has improved environmental adaptability, enabling stable flight in moderate rain, moderate snow, winds of 6 degrees Celsius, and nighttime conditions ranging from -20 to 50 degrees Celsius.
The head of Meituan's drone business stated, "Drones do not replace delivery personnel, nor do they affect the work of delivery personnel. They work in conjunction with delivery personnel to efficiently carry out delivery tasks and play an important role in supplementing the region's transportation capacity. Even if drone deliveries were implemented throughout the region, they would not exceed 10% of the total number of orders."
According to published reports, Meituan has been researching its own drone technology since 2017 and conducted its first trial in Shenzhen in 2021 to commence regular operations. Currently, the company offers a "15-minute delivery within 3 km" service on 15 drone delivery routes in Shenzhen and Shanghai, Guangdong Province, with the total number of orders having already exceeded 167,000.