Deutsche Post To Test Ground Based Mail Delivery Drones

Deutsche Post To Test Ground Based Mail Delivery Drones

Mail delivery robot “assistant” will automatically follow postal workers in Germany PostBOT is an all-weather, ground-based drone that will accompany postal workers along their delivery routes. It can carry up to 150 kg (330 lb) of mail and packages. The robot was designed with considerable input from Deutsche Post personnel and was built by the French company Effidence which won the DHL Robotics Challenge last year. The main goal of this mail-toting machine is to ease the physical challenge of the job even as the postal workers continue to age. The current version of PostBOT is 150 cm (4 ft 11 inches) tall and can travel at speeds of up to 6 km/h (3.7 mph). In case you are wondering how the four-wheeled mail delivery bot will handle steps, well, according to The Postal Hub there are no steps in Bad Hersfeld where the six week trial is set to begin later this year. It will be interesting to see how PostBOT will interact with the Parcelcopter, DHL’s tiltwing delivery...
Pizza Pie in the Sky! – A Brief History of the Goal to Use Drones to Deliver Pizzas

Pizza Pie in the Sky! – A Brief History of the Goal to Use Drones to Deliver Pizzas

28 SEPTEMBER, 2016 Pizza Delivery Drones Mamma Mia! Will full-scale pizza drone delivery services be the next big thing? This past August, pizza powerhouse Domino’s made history by announcing it was trialling pizza deliveries via drone in New Zealand. Check out the video of the successful delivery here. Experimentation with drone deliveries is nothing new for Domino’s. In 2013 they did a promotional stunt in the UK (video link: YouTube) and just this past June they did something similar in Greece (video link: YouTube) while also showcasing a prototype of their future “zero click ordering” app with a 10-second countdown. This time around however, Domino’s has partnered up with Flirtey, the company who this past year alone has trialled drone delivery of medical supplies as well as drone delivery of 7-Eleven goodies such as coffee, donuts, a chicken sandwich and a Slurpee. This partnership is part of Domino’s long-term strategy to automate delivery alongside the company’s future fleet of 190 kg (419 lb) Domino’s Robotic Units (aka DRUs) which are the company’s (potentially solar powered) commercial autonomous delivery vehicles ready to deliver up to 10 hot pizza pies within a 20 km (12.4 mile) radius of their home franchise base. Is Domino’s the first to come up with this concept of flying pizzas? No. But they are most likely the first to be able to make it happen at a commercial level. University students and their supervisor in Berlin work on devouring the first pizza successfully delivered via drone back in 2012. Screen capture via YouTube Pizza Drones Then Leonardo The Pizza Delivery Copter (Germany, 2012) A Free University of Berlin student project, this...
Drones Going Postal – A Summary of Postal Service Delivery Drone Trials

Drones Going Postal – A Summary of Postal Service Delivery Drone Trials

27 JUNE, 2016 Postal Delivery Drones With the rapid demise of snail mail and the explosive double digit growth of e-Commerce, postal companies have been forced to seek new ways to expand beyond their traditional letter delivery business models. Given the online consumer’s expectation of fast parcel delivery, it is not surprising that many of these postal service companies are now turning towards delivery drone technology to remain afloat. This article focuses on the recent activities different postal companies from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore and Ukraine have undertaken as they test the feasibility and profitability of unmanned delivery drone services.  Although the general consensus is that it will still take a while for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to become the defacto parcel delivery mode given a variety of existing obstacles (e.g. consumer expectations, end recipient safety, threat of theft, regulatory frameworks, battery life limitation, etc.), the current trend does indeed point to a time where Fido won’t be able to savor the mailman’s leg. The Australia Post parcel delivery drone in action. Photograph by Eddie Jim via the Sydney Morning Herald Australia Post In 2015 Australia Post reported their first full year loss in over 30 years of operation. Their AU$222 million (US$171 million) loss was a dramatic change compared to their AU$116.2 million (US$89.72 million) profit in 2014. What they did see however was that although letter volumes fell by 7.3%, parcel revenue rose by 3.6%. Ever since then, this government owned postal company down under has been quite active in the testing of delivery drone usage “It is not a matter of if, but rather of when” This...
German Cargo Drones Delivering Blood Samples

German Cargo Drones Delivering Blood Samples

German Cargo Drones Delivering Blood Samples Unmanned Cargo Delivery Concept – Chronicle 09 Drohnen: Fliegende Helfer für die Krankenhauslogistik ( April 20, 2015) (Editor’s Note: Original article is in German, title translates to “Drones: Flying Helpers for Hospital Logistics”.) What Article Chronicles: A chain of three German hospitals, the Agaplesion Frankfurter Diakonie Kliniken, wants to use drones to transport blood and lab samples. Circa 50 to 70 times per year, blood must be quickly delivered from the central blood bank and laboratory to one of the chain’s three hospitals as part of an emergency situation. However, due to typical Frankfurt rush hour traffic, it can take up to 20 minutes for a 5 km (3.1 mile) trip. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could potentially do the same trip in 5 minutes. Agaplesion partnered up with HiSystems Gmbh to test out the concept. As Mr. Dennis Göbel, managing director of Agaplesion states, this is not “an Amazon-type business – we want to save lives, not deliver books.” German and EU laws require that drones remain in view of their pilots at all times and prohibit flight over densely populated areas. Drones may also not fly higher than 100 meters (328 feet). As such, test flights for the unmanned drone delivery of blood and laboratory sample have only occurred on private land but the maiden flight over the Frankfurt cityscape is still pending. Official UAV / Drone Name: MikroKopter Basic UAV/ Drone Description:  All-weather, 4.5 kg (9.9 lb), six-rotor UAV with three-dimensional locating and positioning capabilities via onboard camera, GPS and air pressure sensors. In case of emergency maneuvers, the drone...
DHL Delivery Drones in Germany

DHL Delivery Drones in Germany

The DHL Parcelcopter Unmanned Cargo Delivery Concept – Chronicle 01 DHL parcelcopter launches initial operations for research purposes (September 24, 2014) (Editor’s Note: This is the article that piqued my interest in the unmanned cargo delivery drone/UAV concept)   What the Article Chronicles: This was the first autonomous delivery flight authorized in Europe. It was also the first time that a flight by an unmanned aircraft was performed outside of the pilot’s field of vision (i.e. beyond visual line of sight or BVLS) on a real-life mission. Official UAV / Drone Name: DHL Parcelcopter (“Paketkopter” in German). Mission: To provide emergency delivery of medications (and other small goods) via regular flights from the seaside village of Norddeich to the North Sea island of Juist in Germany on days when the regular ferry does not operate. Basic UAV / DroneDescription:  The parcelcopter is a small, rotary-bladed UAV that weighs approximately 5 kg (11 lb) and has an autopilot as well as automated takeoff and landing functions. Payload: It can carry a payload of 1.2 kg (2.6 lb). Range: Route (one-way) is approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles). The Parcelcopter can remain aloft for 45 minutes. Speed: At 5o meter (164 feet) altitude, can fly at 18 meters/second (40 mph) depending on wind speed. Companies Involved: DHL Microdrones GmbH (website) The Institute for Flight System Dynamics at RWTH Aachen University (website)   What are your thoughts on the DHL Parcelcopter? Comment...

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