Royal Mail Turns to Drones for Parcel Delivery from Mainland UK to an Island

After announcing a pilot program to use drones in order to deliver parcels to rural communities in the United Kingdom back in December, Royal Mail is now gearing up for the next big challenge.
Royal Mail drone 1 photo
The company wants to turn to drones to send packages over to an island, all as part of out-of-sight and completely autonomous flights.

Royal Mail has therefore worked together with a series of partners including DronePrep, Skyports, and the University of Southampton as part of a government-funded project whose purpose is to allow the delivery of medical equipment to remote communities.

The first shipments will include personal protective equipment and testing kits that will be sent to the Isles of Scilly. The drones will carry packages that will tip the scales at up to 100 kilos (220 lbs), with the parcels to be dropped at the islands’ airport in St. Mary’s. Then, other smaller drones would come into play and pick up smaller packages that would be then flown to certain pre-defined points across the islands.

Royal Mail says the trial program would help the company determine whether autonomous drone flights over the UK mainland and an island can be used in the long term, especially as the same technology can be used to ship parcels to remote areas throughout the United Kingdom as well.

And needless to say, turning to drones, which can fly up to 113 km (70 miles) completely autonomously, could help Royal Mail reduce emissions and cut costs, especially as its shipping operations would be therefore streamlined to specific regions.

The original pilot program launched in December allowed Royal Mail to use drones to deliver parcels to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull, then relying on what3words address to accurately pinpoint drones to a specific location on the map where packages needed to be sent.


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