While many believe in talking, DHL, the global shipping giant, believes only in doing. DHL recently released a press release sharing its excitement and happiness about concluding a three-month test of its third Parcelcopter generation. For people wondering what a Parcelcopter really is, Parcelcopter is an adorable name given by DHL to its drones that the company is using to ship packages within a small area at quick speeds.
The trial run was conducted between January and March this year in the Bavarian community of Reit im Winkl, as a part of a larger innovation and research project. Private customers on the Winklmoosalm plateau and in the Reit im Winkl area were invited by DHL to test out the meticulously designed Packstations, the Parcelcopter Skyport. Residents were required to drop off their packages in the packstations, after which drones took charge and carried out the entire shipping process.
The international shipper ran a total of 130 autonomous loading and offloading cycles during the trail run. With this, DHL became the first parcel service provider all around the world to directly integrate a parcelcopter logistically into its delivery chain. The shipment company strongly believes, that with its this combination of fully automated loading and unloading as well as an increased transport load and range of its Parcelcopter, they will be able to achieve a level of technical and procedural maturity that will eventually allow them to carry field trials in urban areas as well.
In order to test the technically upgraded vehicle to its full potential, DHL tested them with heavier loads, on longer distances and even did a delivery to an alpine region known for its meteorological and geographical challenges. The first challenge that DHL had to conquer was the rapidly changing weather conditions and severe temperature fluctuation in the testing area. Once that was done, the Parcelcopter performed a series of flawless flights.
The Parcelcopter’s cargo typically carried either urgently needed medicines or sporting goods. The highlight was that the drone arrived at the Alm station within just eight minutes of its take-off. The same trip when covered on a car takes more than 30 minutes during a wintry day.
In the Press Release, DHL especially thanked the German government, for its permission to create a special restricted flight zone that was majorly crucial for the success of the project. This is something that Amazon had been trying to get out of the U.S. government for quite a long time now. Unfortunately, DHL seems to have left Amazon much behind in the drone race.