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DHL Beats Amazon To Drone Delivery

They already have an operational drone delivery service…

Michael Cruickshank
DHL Beats Amazon To Drone Delivery© 2018 DHL

Amazon amazed the world just over a year ago by announcing plans that it would build drones capable of delivering goods to people’s homes. Unfortunately, this was more of a publicity stunt than a concrete plan, as the company lacked the necessary approval to operating drones for a commercial purpose. While their plans are stalled, there are other companies specializing in delivery that have been powering ahead with similar technology.

German delivery giant DHL has been developing its “Parcelcopter” prototype now for more than a year, and has conducted a multitude of tests, running the drone in varying conditions. This drone can remotely carry and delivery a shoebox-sized package a considerable distance, before dropping it accurately at a target location. Today the technology behind this drone is now ready for its next big step.

For the first time ever, DHL will begin real-life commercial deliveries of goods via the Parcelcopter drone. This will begin with deliveries to the small, North Sea island of Juist, as part of a new expanded test program. In a press statement the company explains:

"For the first time worldwide, medications and other urgently needed goods will be delivered to the island at certain times of the day by DHL parcelcopter. This research project represents the first and only time in Europe that a flight by an unmanned aircraft will be operated outside of the pilot's field of vision in a real-life mission."

In order to make these deliveries, the drone will be pitted against the notoriously harsh weather of the North Sea. The Parcelcopter will have to survive high winds and lashing rain, while autonomously navigating itself to its destination in order to prove that drone delivery is possible with today’s technology.

Should it be successful, it would likely prompt other companies to expand into drone deliveries, especially to hard to access areas like islands or remove towns. Meanwhile the US waits for the FAA to finally decide whether or not drones will ever be legalized for delivery within America.

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