Both Google and Amazon have announced their intentions to use drone for delivery of small parcels. Now German delivery firm DHL has beat them to the punch and implemented the worlds first true drone delivery service.
The drone, dubbed the “parcelcopter” (pictured above) is an autonomous quad-copter that will fly to the German island of Juist, a sandbar island 12km into the North Sea from the German coast, inhabited by 2,000 people. Deliveries will include medication and other goods that may be “urgently needed”.
The "parcelcopter" will fly under 50 meters to avoid entering regulated air traffic corridors. The drone follows a fully automated route to a dedicated landing area on the island. “From there,” the company says, “a DHL courier will then deliver the goods to the recipient. To optimally secure the goods during transport, DHL Parcel developed a special air-transport container that is extremely lightweight as well as weather- and waterproof.”
Although the flight is automated, the "parcelcopter" will be monitored by and in constant communication with a ground station on the German mainland. The ground station will also communicate with air traffic control to ensure compliance with with ATC regulations.
DHL has already begun taking orders that will be delivered by the "parcelcopter". The scheduled flights will focus on times when conventional ways of delivering packages, such as ferries or manned flights are not available.
“Our DHL parcelcopter 2.0 is already one of the safest and most reliable flight systems in its class that meets the requirements needed to fulfill such a mission,” said Jürgen Gerdes, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL’s Post – eCommerce – Parcel Division. “We are proud that this additional service can create added value for the residents of and visitors to the island of Juist and are pleased with the support we have received from the involved communities and agencies.”