The remotely piloted vehicles will take packages of up to 4.54 kilograms from the airport to a landing zone in Nisku that is yet to be decided on by the couriers using the service: Apple Express and Ziing Final Mile.
Michael Zahra, CEO of DDC, told Taproot that while the initial agreement will see the delivery drones flying just one route, the service can be scaled up and applied to other delivery services in the future.
Myron Keehn, EIA's vice-president of air service and business development, also sees potential to broaden the service. He told Taproot that drones and other unmanned vehicles are going to be a large part of the airport's operations going forward, as they become more popular in supply chains.
"If you fast forward to the future 10 years from now, you will have autonomous systems delivering packages by road, by air, and by individual robots within buildings," he predicted.
One of the largest benefits of using drones, which are electrically powered, is that they can mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with last-mile delivery — to the customer's business or home — which is typically done by trucks.
"It has the largest effect on the environment," Keehn said. "Because it's individual — you're taking one package at a time."