Unmanned Parcel Delivery is a reality!

DHL parcel services has started a pilot (and did a successful test) of parcel delivery from the German mainland to one of the small islands off the North-Sea Coast.

Very impressive!! I will leave my personal comments for in the comments section.

Apart from the technical side of this, which have been done before, it does seem a next step given the regulatory approval.

The technical partners are the Institute of Flight System Dynamics at RWTH Aachen University and Microdrones GmbH.

English Press release: LINK




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  • I very much quote Chim Xotox and Hughes. The first few sentences should be written as a disclaimer on every articles about "drone deliveries".

    And the use of the md4-1000, that trades the basic mechanical redundance for efficiency, is really not justified here.

    Large quadcopters like the md are good just for agricultural work, where there is very low risk for people or goods, sure not for an emergency medical delivery.

  • MR60

    DHL will have to change their UAV choice as the European drone regulations will require minimum 6 rotors, for obvious safety reasons.No quads will survive in the drone commercial applications in our continent...

    ebbe smith of norway!
  • As for the ability of DHL to get authorizations etc., the last time I looked DHL was owned by the German postal service, a huge, powerful government body heavily invested not just in transportation but also in communications. Getting permission was probably about as hard as buying lunch for someone.

  • The delivery of emergency medicines is of course a legitimate and realistic potential application for drones (I am using the word "drones" advisedly on the suggestion that it's beneficial to use it whenever the context is positive). In fact it is an almost ideal use in many regards. The delivery of ordinary items is not and never will be a practical mainstream application, and falls squarely into the same hole occupied by the flying cars promised us in 1950s magazines, along with personal backpack jetpacks, monorails, and even the efforts of balloonist Lawnchair Larry (R.I.P). These are publicity stunts (and/or scams run on technically clueless CEOs) - not without value and interesting, but that's all they are.  And it's ironic and remarkable that DHL, of all people, should be involved here; that island must be pretty big if DHL can find it, as where I live they couldn't find their own trucks if they weren't painted like carnival rides.

  • I'm surprised that they're using a quad instead of a six or eight motor configuration.

    While I like the simplicity and reduced cost of a quad set-up compared with a hex or octo.....

    I personally would consider a platform that has no form of motor redundancy to be potentially a higher-risk choice than one that does.

  • I don't think it's hate.  It's skepticism.  We're pretty skeptical that it can really fly 88 minutes.  How long can it fly with a payload, in real world conditions?

  • I've got an MD4-1000... why do some of you hate it? is it old fashioned? it does not fly splines? it is expensive... well, Mercedes Benz are too

  • The issue in my opinion that remains to be solved is feasibility, both in technically and in regulation. The idea of a  dedicated route in some instances could hold water but how much is the question. As drone user and entrepreneurs I'm guessing you've experienced and anticipate the fairly large amount of challenges to be addressed, besides the elephant in the room that is lipo charge and discharge ratios(unless in the case of VTOL fixed wings which I think is not practically as easy as it sounds). In practical terms I foresee a scenario where drone air-traffic integration, DSA, fleet and ground or mobile station optimisation for pick ups and drop off would be mandatory. I have a feeling you'll bee seeing your delivery guy for a foreseeable future before cost-benefit catches up. 

  • How does that work?  2650g empty, 1200g payload, 5500g maximum weight?  Something is missing.  Battery weight?

    The specified maximum speed is 12 m/s, or 43.2 km/h.  So travelling the 12km distance would take 17 minutes.  Seems doable, it only needs to fly for 34 minutes.  We know it's efficient.

    It just seems, your bottle of pills might cost you $50,000.

  • Nice find, interesting!

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