DHL was the first parcel service provider in the world to directly integrate a Parcelcopter logistically into its delivery chain.
In 2016, the company successfully concluded a three-month trial that saw its third-generation Parcelcopter make fully autonomous deliveries through the winds and snow of the Bavarian Alps to customers in two mountain communities.
The trial harnessed the company’s Parcelcopter 3 prototype, a tilt-wing UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) combined with a Parcelcopter Skyport, consisting of a fully automated loading and unloading station based on a DHL Packstation. Now the company feels that the technology has the potential to expand beyond deliveries in hard-to-reach areas, to servicing urban areas, with the systems proving they are suitable for further field tests.
As Jürgen Gerdes, management board member for post and e-commerce at DHL, commented, “We are more than convinced that the Parcelcopter has allowed us to create real added value in the field of logistics. In future, this could take the shape of deliveries of emergency medical supplies or deliveries to regions in challenging geographical locations. The Parcelcopter arguably allows us to offer people in such areas a new kind of access to the flexible and, most importantly, rapid dispatch and delivery of goods.”
A full history of DHL’s drone delivery program can be found here.