Jumia to start delivery of goods through drones starting next year

A screenshot of Jumia's website.

Kenya’s largest online retailer, Jumia, plans to employ the use of unnamed aerial vehicles popularly known as drone to deliver goods to its customers starting next year.

Jumia managing director Sam Chappatte told the Star that they plan to pilot the use of drones in delivering their products in the first quarter of 2018.

He said based on the outcome, they can fully adopt the technology in two or three years to come.

“Next year in Q1, we will try. Realistically it’s not a viable solution at this point due to its complexity, however we will pilot it and see how it works out before adapting it in maybe two or three years to come,” said the MD.

A month ago, Kenya Civil Aviation Authorities gazzeted the Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations 2017 which basically allow Kenyans to use drones for filming and photography, sports, other private and commercial activities.

Jumia will be the first company to use drones for commercial purposes in the country.

Liquid Telecom chief technical officer Ben Roberts said use of drones has been adopted in many facets such as security, farming, and journalism among others.

By 2022, he added, many companies like Jumia will extensively rely on drone effectiveness in delivery of products.

“This would be a major boost for the industry curbing loses incurred from the damage of property in transit and cut time spent in traffic,” he said.

He said that though it is highly anticipated drone delivery could be cost effective, it may not be the case in some instances such as delivery of pizzas and the like.

Currently, such commodities are delivered through a motor-cycle and the rates are affordable.

Chapatte added that at the moment, use of drones for delivery has been limited by too many skyscrapers in the city centre, regulations, security and high mobility rate required.

Rwanda, Malawi, Morocco and Uganda are among African Countries that have employed use of drones.

In Rwanda, drone are used to transfer drugs and blood to transfusion centres across its health facilities while in Malawi, they are used to transfer HIV tests to and from around rural areas.

In Morcco, drones are used to monitor illegal maritime operations.