World's 1st drone delivery trials achieved on Mount Everest, Chinese tech firm says

First drone delivery completed at Mt. Everest. (Credit: DJI Technologies)

A Chinese-based technology company said it has successfully carried out the world's first delivery drone trials on Mount Everest in Nepal.

DJI Technology said it teamed up with Nepalese drone service company Airlift, video production company 8KRAW, and Nepalese certified mountain guide Mingma Gyalje Sherpa to achieve the accomplishment back in April. 

The drone, DJI FlyCart 30, can carry 15kg payloads even in the extreme altitude and environmental conditions of the mountain. 

The test run included three oxygen bottles and 1.5kg of other supplies that were flown from Everest Base Camp to Camp 1. Trash was carried back down on the return flight. 

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"From the end of April, our team embarked on a groundbreaking endeavor to help make cleanup efforts on Everest safer and more efficient," Christina Zhang, Senior Corporate Strategy Director at DJI, said in an online news release. "We are thrilled to share that our DJI FlyCart 30 was up to the task. The ability to safely transport equipment, supplies, and waste by drone has the potential to revolutionize Everest mountaineering logistics, facilitate trash cleanup efforts, and improve safety for all involved."

Though helicopters can make the same journey, they're often not used due to the dangers and costs. 

The company said Sherpa guides were usually responsible for delivering supplies and cleaning trash. However, they needed cro cross an icefall more than 30 times in a season.  

"We need to spend 6-8 hours each day walking through this icefall," Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Imagine Nepal mountain guide, added. "Last year I lost three Sherpas. If we're not lucky, if our time is not right, we lose our life there."

The company said the Nepalese government has contracted a drone delivery service n the southern slope of Everest starting on May 22.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.