Drone delivery bulls took a hit after news of Amazon’s floundering U.K. drone operations broke on Tuesday, but plenty of smaller players are still working to bring drones to U.S. cities. The latest locale? Phoenix.
South Korea-based Pablo Air announced Wednesday the expansion of its drone delivery business into Phoenix, signing a memorandum of understanding with three local companies to begin testing its established services, as well as its newer innovations. The MOU loops in full-service logistics provider NGL Transportation, whose clients include retail giants Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).
“We plan to demonstrate Pablo Air’s unique technology in the global market by implementing practical commercialization along with demonstration of delivery in the United States, for the first time as a Korean drone startup,” said Kim Young-Joon, CEO of Pablo Air. “Afterwards, through continuous development, we will resolve difficulties related to long-distance delivery and the accessibility of existing delivery systems in logistics by raising the efficiency of various mobility vehicles, such as self-driving trucks and unmanned ground robots as well as delivery drones.”
After receiving an invitation from the city of Phoenix in June, Pablo Air established its first U.S. subsidiary and is securing partners to roll out its unmanned delivery service to the city and surrounding areas. NGL Transportation figures to be an important ally; with its nationwide logistics network and fleet of over 250 trucks, the company will work with Pablo Air on a first-mile delivery solution that integrates drones.
Another partner, Deliver-EZ, is collaborating with the company to establish an affordable mailbox and an unmanned delivery station, both optimized for drone delivery services. The mailbox, in particular, should help to unlock the full capabilities of Pablo Air’s drone delivery system.
A third company included in the MOU, the Aerospace Arizona Association, will supply Pablo Air with a local test bed and institutional support in the form of Federal Aviation Administration flight regulations and more.
Part of Pablo Air’s main value proposition is its proprietary software, PAMNet. The software, described as “a smart mobility integrated logistics and delivery solution,” provides real-time mobility for the company’s drones, autonomous vehicles and unmanned trucks alike.
The company is also known for completing South Korea’s first long-distance maritime drone delivery, as well as for putting on a series of drone art shows in the skies above Seoul.