DHL Parcel has successfully concluded a three-month test of its latest generation of Parcelcopter in the village of Reit im Winkl in Germany. According to DHL, the trial is the first time worldwide that a parcel service provider has directly integrated a Parcelcopter into its delivery chain.
Private customers in Reit im Winkl and up on the Winklmoosalm plateau were invited to test out the specially developed Packstations, dubbed the Parcelcopter Skyport, between January and March 2016.
During the trial, customers could simply insert their shipments into the Skyport to initiate automated shipment and delivery using the Parcelcopter. A total of 130 autonomous loading and offloading cycles were performed during this time.
Compared to a standard drone, the technically upgraded vehicle was able to deal with heavier loads, longer distances and delivery to an alpine region notable for its geographical and meteorological challenges.
The first task was to master the rapidly changing weather conditions and severe temperature fluctuation in the test area. Each round trip from valley to plateau at roughly 1,200m (4,000ft) above sea level covered 8km (5 miles) of flight. The drone’s cargo was typically either sporting goods or urgently needed medicines and it arrived at the Alm station within just eight minutes of take-off. The same trip by car takes more than 30 minutes during winter.
Jürgen Gerdes, management board member for Post, E-commerce, Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL Group, said, “We’re the first worldwide who are able to offer a transport drone (Parcelcopter at DHL) for end-customer delivery. With this combination of fully automated loading and unloading with an increased transport load and range of our Parcelcopter, we have achieved a level of technical and procedural maturity to eventually allow for field trials in urban areas as well.”
In the coming months, DHL Parcel will begin analyzing performance data and other insights from the trial, which will then be used to select other potential areas for testing.
To view a video of DHL’s latest Parcelcopter trial click here.
May 9, 2016