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“Russia to focus on cargo delivery drones for remote regions,” says expert

By Chris Stonor

A Russian drone expert stated at the recent St Petersburg International Forum “Artic Present and Future” that the country will initially focus on cargo drones employed in remote regions, reports  

Yuri Zhestkov of the Airbug Bureau for Promising Design explained, “We have analysed the structure of UAV transportation in western companies. They are focused on shipping cargo up to 15 kilograms and mostly within cities.”

He continued, “The social-economic development of Russia, its geography, climate and nature, as well as the economy’s structure, sets very different challenges for designers of cargo drones. Primary demand could be transportation of cargo, weighing between 100 and 800 kilograms (kgs). These will be supplies to low-populated areas or industrial areas with insufficient transportation infrastructures.”

According to Zhestkov, development of cargo shipments by unmanned aviation is in the immediate future. The service will become more realistic as companies, working in the Arctic, get ready to use drones when their advantages become apparent. A leader in using such craft this way may be the Tomsk region, where large and low-populated areas are covered with swamps and forests.

Alexei Minavev, from the Ministry for Economic Development, commented, “Trials will take place in Tomsk over three years once they are approved. Already, it has been presented to the Government.”

Russia Post Helicopter Drone

The Tomsk region is an excellent area for such tests. Road infrastructure is negligible where access is only possible by helicopter and an hour-long flight is very expensive. Minavev added, “In situations like this, there are no alternatives to drones.” During the proposed trials all information will be analysed jointly by the Ministry of Transport and Rosaviatsiya (the aviation authority).

The Tomsk tests will generate recommendations regarding the drones’ safety and convenience. The main result will be “an answer to the question regarding the use of regular and unmanned aircraft in one aerial space.” The project is to be implemented in four areas including Chukotka and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous region.

Aeromax Drone

Last month, the Russian Post and Aeromax company reported successful cargo delivery drone trials in the latter area. The experiment featured an SH-350 helicopter-type vehicle. It made a number of flights between Salekhard and Aksark. The route was 53 km long. Before the end of 2024, drones will work on 10 routes in this region. Sergei Yurchuk, a spokesman for Aeromax, remarked, “We have tested the entire delivery cycle back and forth.”

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