Next step for the Parcelcopter-Project at Deutsche Post DHL: From the city Norden to the island of Juist the copter of microdrones will go into regular operations. More than twelve kilometers will be autonomously »bridged« by the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) without any intervention of a pilot. Remarkable: For the first time the system is operating out of sight of a human operator (BVLOS – Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) and is therefore likely to be the first of its category which has ever completed such a mission with official approval. The goal is to carry medicine or other urgently needed items fast and flexible. In last year’s December a Parcelcopter has already flown across the river Rhine in Bonn for testing purposes. The current field test now take place with additional support from the Institute of Flight System Dynamics of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH).
The logistics company DHL and the drone developer and manufacturer microdrones want to test the possibilities of future autonomous deliveries by their parcel copters. The route crossing the North Sea towards the island of Juist is particularly suited for such further tests under harsh conditions. Especially for our Parcelcopter the Federal Ministry of Transport and digital infrastructure in coordination with the German Air Traffic Control (DFS) has set up a restricted area. The National Park Administration Wadden Sea under the participating of several municipalities has also approved these trials. The field trial is planned for several months, even though each individual flight has to be registered.
The DHL Parcelcopter reaches a speed of up to 18 meters per second at an altitude of 50 meters above the North Sea. The robust drone with carbon fiber body on the basis of the type md4-1000 was improved by DHL through a waterproof and aerodynamic, Payload compartment. A conventional shipping box or parcel would have been unsuitable for that »Last Mile« delivery. The Quadrocopter was continuously developed for this intended purpose since the first test flights in 2013. »Our DHL parcelcopter 2.0 is already one of the safest and most reliable flight systems in its class that meets the requirements needed to fulfill such a mission,« said Jürgen Gerdes, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL’s Post – eCommerce – Parcel Division.