Germany’s REWE Group has partnered in a pilot project to bring drone deliveries to remote areas of Michelstadt in Hesse. Named ‘LieferMichel’, the project will enable residents in these remote regions to order groceries and household goods from REWE stores, which will then be delivered to their homes via drone.
The initiative, officially known as ‘DroLEx – Drone Load Bike Express Delivery’, is a collaborative effort involving the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Wingcopter, REWE, Vodafone, Riese & Müller, and the city of Michelstadt. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) under the ‘Innovative Air Mobility’ funding guideline.
Here’s how the process works: Wingcopter delivery drones transport orders to designated landing points on the outskirts of villages. From these points, the deliveries are then transferred to end customers using Riese & Müller cargo bikes.
The aim of this pilot project is to bring greater convenience to residents in these rural areas. Many local retailers in these regions have shut down in recent years, forcing residents to travel considerable distances to shop for daily necessities. With the drone delivery service, residents can order products weighing up to four kilograms, including non-refrigerated items like long-life milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and tinned foods.
Dr. Robert Zores, Chief Digital Innovation Officer at REWE digital, expressed the company’s commitment to exploring autonomous mobility to enhance the shopping experience for customers. “We are pioneers and trailblazers in the German food retail sector,” he added.
The pilot project is initially launched to serve residents in the Rehbach and Würzberg districts. If deemed successful, it will continue past its initial end date in 2023. This initiative marks another step toward innovative and efficient grocery deliveries in rural areas, ensuring greater accessibility for customers.