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GoFor, Aurora Aerial to pilot drone delivery test program

Canadian firms will begin test in Canada before expanding into other markets where GoFor is active

GoFor Industries will work with Aurora Aerial on a drone delivery test program, starting in Canada before expanding into other markets. (Photo: Aurora Aerial)

GoFor Industries, already committing to helping its contractors deploy electric vehicles over the next few years, will now enter a pilot program with Aurora Aerial to test drone delivery in Canada before rolling it out to other markets, including those in the United States.

“Our new partnership with Aurora Aerial is the first step toward redefining the traditional logistics industry and aligns with our vision to revolutionize logistics by using innovative technologies to deliver the ultimate customer experience. Drones provide a way to do this. They deliver with reduced shipping times, reduced operational costs and less impact on the environment,” said Brad Rollo, president and CEO of GoFor, in a statement.

The program will leverage GoFor’s delivery platform and Aurora’s drones for last-mile deliveries.

“The future of delivery will include the use of drones given that the future of the industry will be rooted in connectivity, collaboration, agility and sustainability, all of which drones enable,” said Alan Tay, CEO of Aurora. “[Drones] are already being used for time-sensitive deliveries such as medicine and for deliveries that are difficult to complete using traditional vehicles.”

Rollo noted the challenges the pandemic caused for consumers unable to visit stores or those who chose not to, switching to e-commerce for their buying.

“The pandemic has accelerated the need for and adoption of new delivery solutions caused by a huge increase in online buyers and local delivery demand,” he said. “People expect fast delivery and want their products when they want them, which puts businesses in a seemingly impossible position. GoFor solves the delivery problem at scale, faster than anyone else, and through our partnership with Aurora Aerial, we will help businesses meet their customers’ need for convenience, safety and speed.”

Aurora offers two types of drones – the AAC-1000 and the AAT-1000/AAT-1200. The AAC-1000 offers a 15.4-pound capacity, while the AAT-1000/AAT-1200 have a 30.8-pound capacity. The latter two are designed and manufactured to military-grade specifications.

GoFor had a busy 2020 and that is continuing into 2021 with the Aurora announcement and a previous one that it would partner with Royale EV in an effort to convert half of its fleet to electric vehicles by 2025. The program bundles trucks, maintenance, charging and more into a single price for its owner-operator driving force.

Chris Jarvis, chief logistics officer, previously told Modern Shipper that the partnership with Royale is about helping its drivers control their operational expenses. Jarvis said GoFor cargo vans use about 200 gallons of fuel per month, so “we have a responsibility” to address that environmental impact.

Read: Electrifying the nation’s last-mile fleet requires some heavy lifting

“We need to get to the owner-operator who has the cargo van today and support him through this transition,” he said.

GoFor drivers deliver a variety of items, including packages and furniture. Among its clientele are Purolator, Sherwin-Williams, Dulux Paint, Benjamin Moore Paints, Ikea, The Home Depot, HD Supply and Fastenal. To help GoFor drivers, who are all independent contractors, fulfill these on-demand orders, the company offers dispatching services, routing assistance and more, connecting drivers with vehicles to goods that need to move.

In 2020, Canada-based GoFor saw revenue growth of 656%, it said, and expanded service to 73 cities.

“Though 2020 was challenging in many ways, we are excited to have made significant strides and risen to the occasion to provide scalable, on-demand and same-day last-mile delivery services across North America as we all experienced unprecedented disruptions to our known ways of life and business,” said Rollo. “We don’t expect to see customers’ desire for fast delivery disappear. As retail purchasing patterns evolve, we look forward to further supporting businesses of all sizes in owning their last mile and truly delivering for their customers.”

The company’s customer base increased 156% as it delivered “hundreds of thousands” of items in 2020. It projects deliveries to reach “high-single-digit millions in 2021.” Delivery drivers recorded 2.2 million miles in 2020 – up 390% from 2019 – and are on pace to exceed 7.4 million in 2021.

GoFor said it expects to increase its active driver pool to nearly 4,000 by 2022 as it continues expansion, targeting at least 146 cities by the end of this year.  

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]