DHL claims Parcelcopter trials a success

International delivery company Deutsche Post DHL has claimed that a three month test of its third generation Parcelcopter drone delivery system was successful, with a number of autonomous cross country flights cone under challenging alpine conditions.

The test was done between January and March this year in the Bavarian town of Reit im Winkl. According to Deutsche Post DHL this was “the first time worldwide that a parcel service provider has directly integrated a parcelcopter logistically into its delivery chain”.

In a statement, Deutsche Post DHL said: “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. During the three month trial period, they could simply insert their shipments into the Skyport to initiate automated shipment and delivery per Parcelcopter. A total of 130 autonomous loading and offloading cycles were ultimately performed.”

The Parcelcopter had to deal with heavier loads, longer distances and the weather conditions that are faced in an Alpine winter including foul weather and high altitude.

According to the company’s statement, “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 – eCommerce – Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL , commented: “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 as well as 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.”