Drones will be used to carry some 100 parcels from Matkahuolto’s logistics terminal to the K-Market Kartanonkoski and K-Market Ylästö stores in Vantaa, which act as Matkahuolto outlets, during the test period between 18 and 20 March 2019. The experiment will provide information on the efficiency and capacity of the operating model. The parcels will be actual online store deliveries to consumers in Matkahuolto’s transport network.
“Technological developments and automation have already changed the way logistics terminals operate, but until know, the changes have not extensively affected consumers. The importance of customer experience has grown, and consumers now expect convenience, speed and real time information delivered straight to their mobile phone. Through this pilot experiment, we expect to find solutions for these and other development needs,” says Janne Jakola, Managing Director of Matkahuolto.
“Consumers are strongly indicating that they want fast and flexible local services, including parcel services, in places where they shop and live. Local K-Markets have been offering parcel services for years, and they are an excellent venue to test out an entirely new service concept,” says Petri Toivonen, K Group’s Director of Service Business.
Finland is an excellent place to test drone deliveries
During the test period, drones will transport some 100 consumer parcels handled by Matkahuolto. The extensive experiment is unique on a European scale, as it takes place in the vicinity of an airport, and directly involves consumers.
“Big strides have been made in drone logistics over the past few years, and cities and companies are very interested in the possibilities it offers. We believe commercial drone deliveries will become a reality in the near future, and this experiment will provide us with important information on the effectiveness of drones in parcel deliveries and on consumer expectations,” says Tero Vuorenmaa, CEO of Robots Expert, which coordinates the experiment.
Consumer demands for sustainable logistics are growing
Last year, Matkahuolto transported 15 million parcels. Online orders by consumers continue to grow further. Consumers are also increasingly focused on the sustainability and environmental impact of the transport of their orders.
Robots Expert has calculated that if one in every thousand parcel deliveries in Finland was made by a drone, it would save 70 tons of carbon dioxide a year. This would equal to approximately 3,000 parcel delivery drone flights per day.
“This experiment aims to find solutions for challenges related to last mile transport, i.e. transport from a logistics centre to the consumer. That means increasing the speed and reducing the environmental impact of delivery vehicles. We are also utilising the flights back, by carrying return parcels,” says Jakola.
The experiment is part of the Vantaa Aviapolis Traffic Lab (Liikennelabra) project, which seeks to develop entirely new traffic solutions for the future. Its sub-projects aim to find quiet, safe, low-emission and cost-efficient solutions for transport and urban logistics that are expandable in other areas in Finland as well as internationally. The project is led by the City of Vantaa, and it is part of the Traffic Lab project coordinated by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) as well as a change project by the Smart &Clean Foundation. The project has over 30 partners.