This week, the delivery of Royal Mail drones takes a step forward with the first autonomous test flights out of line of sight (BVLOS) between the UK mainland and an island as they deliver Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID test kits and other mail to the Scillys -Islands.
The pandemic has given the project a major focus by delivering supplies to the islands’ most remote communities, but the government funded project, which is being developed in partnership with DronePrep, Skyports, Consortiq Limited, the University of Southampton, Excalibur Healthcare Services and is developing Windracers Limited will help demonstrate the delivery of Royal Mail drones and all of their benefits. “The Windracers drone can also pick up mail of most shapes and sizes, so more general mail can be transported to the islands as part of the trial,” the announcement said.
The flight route for the autonomous drones is around 70 miles of BVLOS flight, which could provide valuable data for the entire industry as the global drone ecosystem works towards regularizing BVLOS flight.
“The project brings together for the first time two pioneering companies that have previously responded to the UK’s COVID-19 challenge – Windracer and the drone delivery arm of air mobility company Skyports. It shows how UAVs of different sizes can be used in the future to complement each other, ”the announcement said.
“Parcels are flown to the islands airport in St. Mary’s by a twin-engine Windracer UAV built in Great Britain, which can simultaneously carry mail up to 100 kg – which corresponds to a typical delivery round. A smaller VTO drone operated by Skyports is then used to transport items to a number of delivery points on the islands. “
The Royal Mail drone delivery project complements the existing means of delivering drones to the Isles of Scilly. The drones have several advantages: “… they can fly in poor weather conditions – including fog – because they are not screwed and are not tide-dependent. This could potentially make them well suited to helping Royal Mail better serve remote island communities. “
“If the study is successful, Royal Mail technology will be considered to identify ways to help postmen and post women deliver to very remote areas and addresses across the UK.”
Amy Richards, local postwoman for the Isles of Scilly, said, “It’s great to be part of this initiative. There are some really remote areas on these islands and this is a great way to get to them. It is really important that we do everything we can to help all regions of the country stay connected – especially during these difficult times. “
Miriam McNabb is editor-in-chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and a fascinating observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Author of over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space, Miriam is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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