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Paketkopter in  Reit im WinkelFoto: Andreas Heddergott

DHL’s Newest Drone Tested in the Mountainous Alps

DHL’s latest version of its drone delivery platform has taken flight over the Bavarian Alps in Germany.

From January to March this year DHL operated a ‘Skyport’ where a selected number of private customers in the Reit im Winkl area could take their parcels and put them into the port. They could simply insert their shipments into the Skyport to initiate automated shipment and delivery per Parcelcopter. More than 100 successful deliveries have been completed to remote villages; faster than transporting them across difficult terrain in a car.

As part of the trial, the technically upgraded vehicle was able to deal with heavier loads, longer distances and delivery to an alpine region notable for its geographical and meteorological challenges. The first task was to master the rapidly changing weather conditions and severe temperature fluctuation in the test area. With that achieved, the DHL Parcelcopter then performed a series of flawless flights. Each round trip from valley to plateau at roughly 1,200 meters above sea level covered eight kilometers of flight. 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.

“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,” said Jürgen Gerdes, Management Board Member for Post – eCommerce – Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL Group.

Parcelcopter Stages of Development

DHL Infographic