Skip to main content

Up, up and away! DHL drone in Germany to start making deliveries this week

dhl drone start making deliveries german island
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Eat your heart out, Jeff Bezos. DHL will this week launch its own drone-based delivery service in Germany, which it claims is a first for any European nation.

Admittedly, it’s a very limited launch, with DHL’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) initially transporting medication and other urgent supplies from the German mainland to the tiny island of Juist in the far north of the country.

DHL has been trialing its system for nearly a year using its ‘parcelcopter,’ and this latest step forms part of its ongoing research into this type of delivery.

Related: Amazon presses ahead with delivery-by-drone initiative

Juist, which lies 12 km from the mainland and is home to around 1500 people, has no bridge and is currently served by a daily ferry service and occasional flights. DHL will fly its yellow quadcopter between Juist and the mainland for at least the next month, the company said in a release.

The delivery firm’s quadcopter can hit speeds of 40 mph (65 km/h) and carry loads of up to 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg).

Although monitored by a mobile ground station, the 15-to-30-minute flight is entirely automated. The drone will land in a designated spot, with an island representative waiting to collect the on-board supplies.

DHL was able to obtain permission from the authorities to run its drone delivery service because the route takes the flying machine coast to coast, avoiding residential areas altogether.

As with many countries, concern over safety means drone flights in Germany are banned in populated areas. And with DHL’s flying machine weighing more than 5 kg, it’s not hard to imagine the kind of damage it could cause if it fell from the sky.

Amazon and Google are also working on similar projects, with the former hoping to one day deliver purchased goods to customers living close to its fulfillment centers. Google’s project, on the other hand, appears to be more focused on carrying urgent supplies to locations hit by natural disasters, though it hasn’t ruled out the idea of one day using the technology to deliver products to shoppers.

However, with the technology still in development, and a bunch of regulatory hurdles to clear, it’s not thought either service will be launching anytime soon.

[Source: DHL, Reuters] [Image: Frankhöffner / Wiki]

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
UPS sees a way forward for drone delivery and is going for it
ups is getting serious about delivery with launch of new subsidiary matternet

UPS Launches Revenue Drone Flights

If we had a dime for every time a company proclaimed the launch of a new drone delivery service because they tied a pizza or some other foodstuff to a tether and hit the “fly” button, we’d probably have around $1.20 by now.

Read more
Drone delivery services may prove too noisy for some in Australia
googles wing drones are now delivering mochas and meds in australia drone delivery

Hardly a week seems to go by without some foodstuff — whether it's meatballs, pizza, or donuts — playing a starring role in a test run of a new drone delivery service.

Ever since Amazon unveiled the first version of its Prime Air drone in 2013, other companies big and small have been developing similar flying machines, many geared toward delivering goods to customers’ homes.

Read more
Uber Eats’ drone delivery service could see Big Macs hit speeds of 70 mph
uber eats redesigned app lets you track your order with cute graphics

Uber is following in the footsteps of Amazon, Google, and others, with the development of its own delivery drone.

The flying machine will be used by Uber Eats, a service that lets hungry folks order meals using an app on their smartphone.

Read more