Poor road or shipping infrastructure will henceforth not be an issue affecting DHL which will henceforth use Drones to deliver urgent medication products and other highly time sensitive goods delivered to customers.
The Company’s parcel-copter research project launched in December 2013 has moved to the next phase in the first ever unmanned aircraft that will be operated by a mobile control station which will follow a designed special restricted air corridor to ensure no collision in the airspace. The drone will be operated outside of the pilot’s vision in a real-life mission.
To ensure that the DHL parcelcopter operates reliably, flies safely and always lands at the right location, an autopilot with automated takeoff and landing functions was developed. This system is robust and reliable, and has been extensively tested. At an altitude of 50 meters, the parcelcopter can travel up to 18 meters per second depending on wind speed.
The company will first start by delivering pharmaceuticals to a small German island. “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.
The research team optimized such aspects as flight duration, flight range and speed to address the special challenges posed by the wind and marine-weather conditions of the North Sea – Juist Island – where the parcelcopter delivers urgently needed goods at certain times of the day.
It will land at a launch pad and landing field on the island of Juist reserved specifically for the parcelcopter. From there, 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.
This phase of the research project will test and evaluate the possibilities of such delivery methods. To the extent that it is technically feasible and economically sensible, the use of parcelcopters to deliver urgently needed goods to thinly populated or remote areas or in emergencies is an interesting option for the future.