Royal Mail plans 50 drone delivery routes servicing the isles of the UK
Over the past couple of years, the UK's Royal Mail service has been exploring the potential of drones to service remote corners of the nation, and is now pressing ahead with its plans for automated aerial delivery. The postal service company has outlined a vision to establish 50 drone delivery routes in the next few years, with eventual plans to deploy the aircraft all over the UK.
Royal Mail has been working with drone logistics outfit Windracers to develop the technology, conducting four separate trials over the past 18 months. This has involved flying twin-engine drones capable of carrying up to 100 kg (220 lb) around different remote locations, with the most recent taking place last month on the Shetland Islands that sit in the North Atlantic Ocean between Great Britain and Norway.
Following these successful exercises, Royal Mail has now announced plans for 50 permanent drone delivery routes to improve the reliability of island mail deliveries. Its current methods in these settings involve ferries, aircraft and land vehicles, and it imagines drones will improve the speed and efficiency of its operations and, together with electric vans, lower its carbon footprint.
The service is still subject to approval by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority, but all going to plan routes will initially be established to deliver mail to the Isles of Scilly, the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Hebrides archipelago. These will be serviced by 200 drones, but Royal Mail says its longer term plans involve a fleet of 500 dropping packages off in every corner of the UK.
“On time delivery regardless of our customers location or the weather, whilst protecting our environment is our goal," said Simon Thompson, Chief Executive Officer at Royal Mail. "Even though we go everywhere, Royal Mail already has the lowest CO2 emissions per parcel delivered, this initiative will help reduce our emissions even further.”
Source: Royal Mail