DHL has beaten Amazon, Facebook and United Arab Emirates in launching a drone based delivery service. The German firm will start using its autonomous quadcopter called Parcelcopter to deliver pharmaceuticals from the German seaside village of Norddeich, across 12 km (7.5 miles) of the North Sea, to the small island of Juist.
Amazon revealed its own drone service – “Amazon Prime Air” which generally received negative reviews for being an over-hyped announcement. Google used a fixed wing aircraft to demonstrate its drone based service for farmers in the Australian outback. DHL however, launched its commercial drone facility which will focus primarily on high priority urgently needed deliveries only.
The DHL drone will fly under 50 meters at 18 meters per sec to avoid interference with regulated air traffic region. It will be unmanned and will be monitored at the station in real time via long range data link. The quadcopter itself weighs app. 5 Kg and can carry a load of up to 1.2 Kg delivering packages to a 12 km distance or a 45 minute flight. The battery will be enough for a single side flight requiring a battery recharge before heading back.
The DHL drone has a special light weight air-transport container which is weather and water proof. Once landed at a designated landing pad, a local DHL crew will retrieve the package and deliver it to the intended recipients. The drones will not be flying to door steps to make the delivery.
The Parcelcopter is also equipped with sensors to send warning signals to base station in case of any damage to its autopilot functionality.
Drone based package delivery will help reduce the enormous time usually taken with other postal service modes.
Check out the DHL drone flight in the video below.