Finnish postal operator Posti is carrying out a trial for parcel deliveries via a robotic drone helicopter operating between Helsinki and the island of Suomenlinna. The testing period will run for four days starting from today (September 2).
Posti will use a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) called Next Eagle to carry packages weighing up to 3kg (6.6 lb) across a distance of approximately 4km (2.5miles). Next Eagle was designed by unmanned aerial vehicle specialist Sharper Shape and contains several technologically advanced solutions which enable safe flying in challenging conditions. This includes a laser-based observation system to prevent collisions and multiple parallel communications links between the operator and the helicopter to ensure that the connection is never lost.
The trial is being conducted in partnership with Verkkokauppa.com, one of Finland’s largest e-tailers, and has been authorized by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) operating under the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Jukka Rosenberg, senior vice president, parcel and logistics services at Posti, said, “New technologies make online shopping quicker and easier for both senders and recipients. We want to experiment with different delivery options which are feasible in Finland and increase the customers’ freedom of choice.”
Jukka Hannola, chief advisor at Trafi, said, “Unmanned aviation is a new and fast-expanding segment which provides brand-new business opportunities. As an aviation authority, Trafi wants to encourage trial projects with unmanned aircraft. Our aim is to create an excellent environment for the testing, development and operation of unmanned aircraft.”
Tero Heinonen, CEO at Sharper Shape, said, “We plan the flights as meticulously as manned flights. Safety is our highest priority. Finland is a leading country in this field, and cooperation between the authorities and companies is smooth.”
To view a video of the delivery drone’s inaugural flight click here.
September 2, 2015