FedEx Express and Elroy Air, a California-based autonomous systems and software company, are teaming up to build the first end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo system. FedEx will test Elroy’s autonomous system within its middle-mile logistics operations. The autonomous crafts will move shipments between FedEx sortation stations.

Elroy first announced its autonomous aircraft in January of this year. The aircraft is an electric VTOL (eVTOL) autonomous aerial cargo system that can lift 300-500 pounds of cargo and can also travel up to 300 miles. Perhaps best of all, it does not need to use infrastructure or airports or stop for a charge during those long flights.

With shipping demands rising due to the tremendous growth in e-commerce over the last couple of years, FedEx is looking for logistics solutions that can provide reliable and efficient transportation in all parts of the supply chain.

This partnership and testing are part of FedEx’s continued exploration of emerging technologies and how such technologies, such as autonomous drones, can improvethe supply chain and deliver better service. When you remove infrastructure, traffic and airports, FedEx may be able to reach more consumers in a faster way.

The two companies have been collaborating since January 2020 and the plan is to continue the collaboration in order to obtain certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration and begin flight testing in 2023. Onwards and upwards.