REWE, a pioneer in the food retail business, is testing new technologies – the “REWE delivery bot” and “REWE Pick&Go” – to make shopping for food easier in urban areas of Germany. The pilot project, known as “LieferMichel”, is bringing the latest technology to rural areas as well. Customers in Michelstadt in the state of Hesse can now order groceries from a REWE store and have them delivered to their homes by a Wingcopter drone. Rehbach and Würzberg are the first communities to be served. E-cargo bikes are being used to transport goods to the launch site in Michelstadt and the last mile from the landing point to customers’ homes.
DroLEx (German for “Drohnen-Lastenrad-Express-Belieferung,” or “Drone Cargo Bike Express Delivery”) is a pilot project run by the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and Wingcopter. Other partners include REWE, Vodafone, Riese & Müller, and the city of Michelstadt. The project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) as part of the “Innovative Air Mobility” funding guideline.
The pilot project, known as “LieferMichel,” allows residents to have food and other items delivered to their homes quickly and emission-free from a REWE store via a Wingcopter delivery drone and a Riese&Müller cargo bike. The aim of drone deliveries is to sustainably improve local supply in the region. In the neighbourhoods of Rehbach and Würzberg, many local stores have closed in recent years, so residents are forced to do their shopping in Michelstadt or other towns – some of which are more than 10 kilometres away. LieferMichel allows users to do without their car, especially for smaller purchases of up to 4 kilogrammes. Another advantage of the purely electric delivery drones is that they are more environmentally friendly than using a car.
REWE is currently testing innovative shopping options in large German cities, such as autonomous shopping baskets (“REWE delivery bots”) in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel, and the automatic checkout at REWE Pick & Go stores in Cologne, Berlin and Munich. Dr Robert Zores, Chief Digital Innovation Officer (CDIO) at REWE Digital, is looking forward to expanding the use of these innovative technologies in cities and towns outside of large metropolitan areas. “We have been working on autonomous mobility in our Research & Innovation department for years, and we always have one goal in mind – to offer our customers new shopping experiences and make shopping easy and convenient. We are pioneers in the German food retail business. In addition to numerous projects in urban areas, we are also pleased to be able to test offerings in rural areas and to work with the project partners to learn and develop technology and processes.”