Xun Ant is a start-up company in the field of drone logistics, and its business route can be described as “from the countryside to the city”. 36Kr has previously reported on the company. Founded in 2015, Xunyi started from the postal industry in the suburban area. In 2016, it cooperated with China Post to open the first drone postal route. After that, the company delivered supplies to the B&Bs in the suburbs; the initial exploration into the city In terms of takeaway and intra-city delivery, the company deployed five drone delivery airports in Hangzhou Future Technology City in 2018, and completed nearly 10,000 takeaway deliveries through the “Xun Ant Delivery” applet. At present, the Xunyi UAV has accumulated a flight mileage of 60,000 kilometers.
After 2019, the company will focus its business on the field of medical supplies distribution. According to the statistics of the Prospective Research Institute, the domestic pharmaceutical market in 2018 exceeded 2 trillion yuan, of which the cost of pharmaceutical logistics and distribution accounted for about 10% of pharmaceutical sales, and the corresponding market size should be around 200 billion yuan.
Regarding the reasons for entering the field of medical supplies distribution, the company’s CEO Zhang Lei told 36氪 that the company is currently focusing on two major segments:
In the process of medical quarantine and inspection: due to the scarcity of medical materials and the traffic reasons during the distribution process, the resources cannot be effectively and timely delivered to the terminal community medical sites, that is, the market that is widely scattered at the tail end. According to data provided by the National Health Commission, as of February 2018, there were nearly one million medical and health institutions in the country, of which 936,000 were primary medical and health institutions.
In the first aid link, since this link has extremely high requirements for timeliness, UAVs have obvious advantages compared with ground transportation in this regard, and can achieve small batches and fast delivery. Ground logistics, on the other hand, are often subject to economic costs and unstable road conditions, and are actually more suitable for bulk distribution of daily materials.
The barriers to competition in drone distribution are mainly reflected in the two aspects of technology and high market entry barriers. UAVs for urban logistics distribution, especially in the field of medicine, have high requirements for flight safety and stability. Xunyi UAV has accumulated a mileage of more than 60,000 kilometers, the longest operating range in the city is 15 kilometers, and the maximum load is 5 kilograms. The company has obtained the world’s first urban drone logistics distribution “license” issued by the Civil Aviation Administration in October 2019, and has also obtained approval from the airspace and related medical and health departments. In addition, flight data will be transmitted to regulatory authorities through monitoring probes to ensure flight compliance.
As for the product landing, the company has been meeting the needs of hospitals since the beginning of 2019 and conducting product deployment tests. The first time it was used in actual business was during the epidemic to meet the needs of Xinchang County People’s Hospital to transfer medical supplies. At present, 4 drones and 4 stations have been deployed, which can meet 100% of the hospital’s transportation needs for light and small materials, effectively saving ground ambulances and human resources. The charging model is the hardware cost purchased by the hospital + the annual flight and service fee.
Zhang Lei, CEO of the company, said that the urban logistics distribution system is changing from the traditional two-dimensional to three-dimensional. The epidemic also played a role in market education, allowing users to see the future development potential of the air logistics distribution system. In the future, the company plans to focus on the distribution of medical supplies by drones. The current scope of operation is still in Xinchang County, Hangzhou City. The company will expand the market scope in the next step, and is in contact with other districts and counties in Hangzhou, Hubei, Wuhan and other regions.
Regarding the use of drones in the field of medical distribution, foreign companies have already begun to try in the early years, dedicated to solving the “last mile” problem. One of the representative companies is Zipline, which used drones to transport blood from the base to hospitals in Rwanda, and then expanded the distribution to vaccines and medicines. ZipLine completed a total of $190 million in Series C financing in 2019; the other is Silicon Valley Matternet, a start-up company dedicated to helping developing countries distribute food and medicine and participate in international rescues, recently received a $16 million investment to accelerate the development of drones.