The Ministry of Economy has announced that Meituan UAS, a China-based drone-facilitated food delivery business, will be the latest pioneering global tech company to join its NextGen FDI program.The company, which is division of China’s biggest food delivery platform, Meituan, has developed low-altitude logistics solutions for local deliveries of food and daily necessities, and will use the program to explore the possibility of introducing its delivery drones, operating systems and drone hubs to the UAE.
Flying drone food delivery in the UAEMeituan UAS has been operating drone delivery services in three cities in China since 2021.The entry of Meituan UAS to the UAE market will help accelerate the country’s ambitions to become a regional leader in autonomous delivery services, which will make a significant contribution to the development of a low-carbon logistics network.The nation already offers licenses for commercial Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drones, while the Dubai Programme to Enable Drone Transportation, launched in 2021 by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, is establishing the infrastructure to enable drone use for a wide range of commercial purposes.Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said Meituan will fast-track the UAE’s drone capabilities and help create a cluster of excellence around the high-growth sectors of UAVs and e-commerce.He said: “The NextGen FDI program was designed to attract pioneering projects to the UAE, ones that could not only use our enabling ecosystem to scale and expand, but also enhance it through the dissemination of new technologies and approaches.“Meituan’s decision to launch operations in our market underlines the welcoming environment we have created for cutting-edge companies, and we look forward to working alongside them to fully integrate their logistics systems into our existing infrastructure and deliver a technology of genuine benefit to the UAE an its people.Dr. Yinian Mao, Vice President at Meituan, and General Manager of Meituan UAS, said: “The development of Meituan UAS has been a process of steady, rapid growth. I’ve been deeply impressed by UAE’s pursuit of innovation and the strong support shown for the UAS sector by government authorities.“We look forward to exploring the possibilities of drone delivery services with partners and to helping promote safer and more efficient drone logistics solutions.”Meituan UAS presented its range of urban logistics at GITEX in Dubai this week. It included a showcase of its new M-Drone Gen 4, which offers a maximum load capacity of 2.5kg and can operate autonomously in all weather conditions, including temperatures up to 60-degrees Celsius.Launched in 2022, NextGen FDI aims to support the growth of the nation’s knowledge-driven economy by enabling rapid incorporation processes to speed up licensing, facilitating the issuance of bulk or golden visas, accelerating banking services, and providing commercial and residential lease incentives for advanced technology companies seeking to relocate to the UAE.