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

dhl drone start making deliveries german island
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]

Product Review

From tables to porches, Ring's Stick Up Cam watches wherever you want

Ring’s latest home security camera offers more versatility than ever before, with the ability to mount it, set it on a table, or put it inside or outside. We got a chance to test it out. Here’s how it went.

Instant Pot prices have dropped on these 5 models by up to $30

Whether you're an Instant Pot beginner or Instant Pot veteran these popular multi-cookers are worth the hype. There are so many Instant Pot models on sale right now, it might be hard to choose. We've rounded up all the deals here so you can…
Home Theater

Amazon ups the ante with Netflix, aims to release up to 30 movies a year

Netflix has a huge budget for both licensed and original content. But Amazon Studios isn't far behind. Studio chief Jennifer Salke revealed a plan to do 30 theatrical and direct-to-Amazon Prime titles this year alone.

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Here’s where to watch this week’s SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.