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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  • Ok...so it is *semi* permanent, but only for research purposes?

    Any German speakers/residents here want to see if we can give this a go too?

  • @Euan:

    Translated from the German press release:

    "Together with the two research and development partners, the Institute of Flight System Dynamics, RWTH Aachen and the Microdrones GmbH, went through DHL package one led by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport extensive review and approval process. The Federal Ministry of Transport and digital infrastructure has set up in coordination with the German Air Traffic Control (DFS) for this research project an exclusive restricted area. In addition to the island of Juist municipality and the town of Norden, the National Park Administration Wadden Sea has approved the use of the copter."

  • MIcrodrones are very good at promotion, as this video demonstrates. 

    However, Andrew (Skymount) and I believe the microdrones "era" is passed - much of what they can do, we can now do for a fraction of the cost, and using "off the shelf" components, and in some respects even better - eg splined flight paths. As our flight across the alps, hopes to demonstrate (if we can ever get a break in our luck and the weather!). However this flight looks to be a considerably easier challenge to replicate.

  • Are you saying that the German authorities have granted an exclusive and "permanent" air route for drones? This is unlikely, but would indeed be very interesting if true.

    It is also not the first real world implementation - many real world application are already in use - for one, my EPM-based payload system was recently used in a SAR event stateside recently. I also don't think this is the first *commercial* use of delivery drones either, but I assuming the pizza delivery drones of china were *commercial* before they were grounded.

  • Well... one of the impressive points is that it is entirely legal. All authorities, local and state and Air traffic control have given their consent. The drone will fly through an appointed corridor where no-one else is allowed to fly.

    Secondly, this is the first (that I am aware of) real-world implementation and use of drones for unmanned delivery of parcels.

  • Sorry guys. But I do not see where the word "impressive" goes.

    All they have done is a nive fiberglass compartment for the payload and a straight line mission....

  • I'm so doing this, once I've done the Alp trip...

    Should be pretty simple too - 3.3 will have the EPM auto options, and I've got the rig and payload system...just needs some long range radios, and it's on?

  • I think it's cute that they made the pod streamlined.

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