From the AP:

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany's express delivery and mail company Deutsche Post DHL is testing a drone that could be used to deliver urgently needed goods to hard-to-reach places.

The small pilotless helicopter flew a package of medicine Monday from a pharmacy in the town of Bonn to the company's headquarters on the other side of the Rhine River. The aircraft can carry up to 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds).

Company spokesman Thomas Kutsch says the flights all this week are strictly a research project to see if the technology works and there are no plans yet to start actual drone deliveries. The test flights required permission from local aviation authorities.

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Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on December 9, 2013 at 11:37am

DHL going bigtime with a professional multirotor.

Comment by Steve on December 9, 2013 at 11:55am

Microdrone with a paint job

Comment by Philip Moffett on December 9, 2013 at 12:27pm

Yep - Microdrone.  Expensive devices but they are very robust - ie. more weather-proof and modularly designed.  Nice!

Comment by Oliver on December 9, 2013 at 10:27pm

In contrast to Bozo's silly fantasy of having shoals of quads flitting through the sprinklers and Magnolias of suburban cul-de-sacs dropping copies of Fifty Shades of Gray on manicured lawns, here we have a sensible concept of, basically, emergency high-speed delivery of something critically needed, where ground transport would be too slow and full-scale helicopters aren't feasible or available. How often something like this would be needed is a question, but it would be like a fire truck - when you need it, which isn't often, nothing else will do. Speaking of fire trucks, it would seem that such emergency deliveries could be a part of several eventual capabilities of multirotors deployed by fire/rescue agencies.

Comment by Euan Ramsay on December 10, 2013 at 8:23am

Definitely agree Oliver.

Things begin to make a lot more sense when the recipient is "known and trusted" - ie sending stuff out to your team from homebase. The destination can be GPS accurate, and spotted for potential hazards on landing by an operator with a basic level of training.

Still doesn't address the problems with flying in urban environments or over people though.

 

Comment by Euan Ramsay on December 10, 2013 at 8:30am

Interesting sidenote: I am setting up "notfalldrohnen.com", here in Switzerland.

A volunteer "drone" service, to assist agencies in Avalanche and Landslide emergencies. The operator fires up a mobile app, and immediately has access to the closest local volunteers, their vehicle capabilities and the ability to call them out direct from the app.

I am working on the details - for example, I want to ensure each volunteer is "certified" by the local agency; this will ensure a craft can meet the performance the operator claims it has, before it can be added to the database. Then there's liability insurance, and approval for use by central gov.

There a whole load of Swiss beaurcracy to deal with, the apps to build, and so on, so it's 6 months away.

 

Comment by Quadzimodo on December 11, 2013 at 11:02pm
Euan - Keep us posted on notfalldrohnen.com, it sounds very interesting!
Thinking of it either in terms of a service provider (insurance broker, parts supplier, sUAS certifier) or simply as a sort of temp (employment) or job tendering agency for drone operators, I think it could be very lucrative. You could set it up with 3 front ends, one aimed at promoting to companies/individuals who might benefit from early adoption of services able to be carried out by sUAS and which informs on and radically simplifies the process of linking these customers with relevantly capable sUAS operators via a tender like system, one to market goods and/or services to sUAS operators, and one for sUAS operators to browse searchable library of tenders on offer from companies/individuals.
If this proves to be a success in Switzerland, then I reckon it would go gangbusters down here in Oz! Particularly in the agriculture, mining and environmental research/management sectors.
Comment by Quadzimodo on December 11, 2013 at 11:08pm
Speaking in purely non-commercial volunteer-only terms, the service you outline above could be of enormous benefit in times of crisis down under also, flood and fire are the obvious ones, but also search and rescue and others.

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