Astral Aviation CEO Sanjeev Ghadia says his company is working with the Kenya Post Office on a three-month trial of drone-delivered mail, express and online shipments.
The service uses five-kilo drones and a personal post office box – the AirBox – located outside a residence or business.
According to a report from the organisers of the Farnborough International Air Show, Ghadia said a first-time benefit of the trial includes the establishment of an address “which is something we so badly require, because 99 percent of the population of Africa does not have an address”.
Astral is also poised to begin a six-month test of a Flyox 1 UAV cargo drone (pictured), built by Barcelona-based tech. company Singular Aviation, after nine months of negotiations with Kenyan aviation regulators.
Ghadia reportedly commented: “We plan to start it off with the aid relief sector, by providing a reliable transportation system for the transportation of relief and aid cargo in regions which are affected by conflict or by famine, and then we're also looking at other applications, such as oil and gas and mining.”
Singluar initially conceived the amphibious UAV to provide a solution for pilots who risked their lives in aerial fire fighting operations and then realised it could be used to deliver a variety of solid or liquid cargo, provide aerial surveillance or crop-spraying. After two years of development, in 2015 the twin-engined aircraft made a successful first flight from Hofn Airport, Iceland.
According to the manufacturer, Flyox has a range of 265 nautical miles (NM) at 24,000 ft. with a 1.5-tonne payload, 870 NM with 1.1 tonnes and just under 2,000 NM with 470 kilos.