On Friday, September 26, 2014, DHL began delivering with the help of drones in Germany, and thus before both Amazon and Google. This is the first time commercial deliveries with drones have been approved in Europe. DHL’s drones can carry a load of up to 1.2 kilograms and the plan is that they will mainly be used to deliver drugs and medicine.
DHL began its work with drones in December 2013 and, among other things, made test deliveries in Bonn with drones flying over the Rehn river.
From the mainland to the island of Juist
DHL’s drones will devote themselves to delivering medicine and other small but urgent goods from the mainland to the German island of Juist, an island located about 12 kilometers from the mainland if you take the ferry from the village of Norddeich. Juist is a popular tourist island and every year approximately 2.25 million people travel by ferry from Norddeich to Juist and the neighboring island of Norderney, so there are a lot of people there who may be required to have things delivered to them.
Both residents and tourists can from now on order things via DHL’s website.
At Juist a special area has been set up where DHL’s drones can land and lift. The drones can both lift, fly and land without having to be controlled by anyone. They are met by DHL couriers on the island who make sure to deliver the product the last bit home to the customer. An advantage of the drones is that they can be dispatched even when weather conditions are such that the ferry does not go.
The drones that DHL uses are basically quadcopters of the MD4-1000 model from Microdrones. DHL has developed a special aerodynamic transport container that is lightweight, waterproof and weather resistant.
The drone can fly for up to 45 minutes at a time and then has the ability to travel at least 12 kilometers under normal conditions. At 50 meters altitude, it can reach speeds of 18 meters per second, but the maximum speed will, of course, be lower if the wind conditions counteract the drone.
As mentioned above, DHL’s drones can both lift, fly and land without any person needing to control them, but DHL has chosen to allow the flights to be supervised by personnel who can intervene and control the drone manually if required.