Delivery Drones | DHL steals UPS thunder
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Delivery Drones | DHL steals UPS thunder

September 18, 2019

Another day, another delivery drone.
This time real-world, point-to-point deliveries in
European weather. Not only is this a good news story for DHL, but one for European
RPA integration, showing yet again just how far ahead of the USA, Europe is.
Last week UPS announced a partnership with Zipline, to trial medical delivery flights in Rwanda. DHL are already out there doing it. DHL
started delivery trials in 2013 with multirotors, culminating in a 12 kilometer
BLOS flight to an island in the North Sea. Not an SLT, but a bi-motor tilt-wing, think Canadair CL-84, the “Dynavert” or the military V-22 Osprey. A little more
complicated than an SLT. DHL Parcel have now successfully concluded a three-month
test of its third-generation Parcelcopter. The trial run, part of a larger research and
innovation project was conducted between January and March 2016 in Bavaria .It
represents the first time that a parcel service provider has directly integrated a parcelcopter
logistically into its delivery chain. Private customers in Bavaria were invited to
test out the specially developed pack stations, dubbed the Parcelcopter Skyport. During
a three month trial period they could simply insert the shipments into the
Skyport to initiate automated shipment and delivery by Parcelcopter. A total of a
hundred and thirty autonomous loading and offloading cycles were ultimately
performed. As part of the trial the technically upgraded vehicle was able to deliver with heavier loads, longer distances, and deliver 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 fluctuations 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 1200 metres above sea level covered eight kilometres of flight. Drone’s cargo was typically the sporting goods or urgently needed medicines. And it arrived at the arms 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. With Parcelcopter we have achieved a level of technical and procedure maturity to
eventually allow for field trials in urban areas as well” said Jurgen Gerdes, Management Board Member for Post – eCommerce – Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL Group. In the coming months DHL Parcel will be analyzing
performance data and other insights from the trial, together with its R&D partner. The findings will
be used to select other potential areas for testing. The success of the project
reflects an outstanding partnership with both community in Bavaria and also
the relevant civil oversight agencies, the Federal Ministry for Transportation, BMVI,
established restricted flight zones specifically for this research project and
the aviation authority for the region of upper Bavaria provided the necessary flight
clearances. Together with officials from the community all details are worked out
to ensure that the project race safely and an interrupted at all times

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  1. I love RC, but a 22 minute savings? In the U.S. major hospitals already get 3 drug shipments per day. This small time savings is a Rube Goldberg. Sounds like another Concord project. Very, very expensive for very little benefit. How much did the ground station cost on both ends? Taxpayer funded?

  2. Interesting to see that DHL are apparently dead serious about this. All the other project have been somewhat "oh we did this one time special delivery in front of cameras with a parcel zip tied to the bottom of a standard drone." or "we have partnership with drone company X" meaning they get drones for cheap for testing, regardless how practical said manufacturers drones are for the use case.

    Automatic loading and unloading with modular cargo bay. Moving to tilt rotor with added complexity, but obvious efficiency gains. Actually thinking about how to base these vehicles on the ground with the sky port including things like weather protection with the landing bay. If one thinks about it sometime, it of course becomes obvious the copter needs protected hangar for the time it isn't flying and is recharging and it better be automatic. Being automatic is the whole point of drones, so any unnecessary human involved is lost efficiency and you might as well keep doing what you were doing before. Don't know if it was due to necessity of location they involved that protective covering system, but that is a huge thing to realize you have to have and to make practical. Shows serious levels of the level of actually practicality and practical seriousness they are thinking.

    Some may say testing in remote alps is not hard for drones, because it is not urban and congested airspace. However surviving harsh elements is just as important in longer term as is figuring out how to navigate urban environment. Parcel drone is of no use to a real delivery company, if the drones can do deliveries only on sunny calm days. So apparently DHL decided they figure out the environmental survival once and for all and chose possible the harshest environment available. Once this is done they can move to urban navigation with confidence of come rain or shine or storm their drones will work.

    Additionally DHL now has an optimal solution for remote mountain villages, pretty much wrapped up and ready to go. As it happens remote villages are also on the delivery schedule of DHL service all around the Alps. So this in itself is already fully serious, practical and business meaningful commercial ready design.So now DHL can save in deliveries by just having to bring their packet truck to the end of the good road in the valley bottom usually, load packets to skyport, drive away and let the drone handle the last mile valley drive problem on it's own time. As said in such places few kilometers can take long times due to the harsh climbs and difficult roads.

    This seems dead dead serious, like DHL actually intents to use that skyport in commercial use later on levels of serious effort. You don't build that stuff of the shelf. It must have took serious effort to figure out the loading procedure and machining. Something I haven't seen on any other effort.

    Good for them DHL. They are actually taking this seriously, instead of thinking this as "come in next decade" or gimmick.

    edit: typos typos typos

  3. Check out Austin Motors Delivery Drone, 7lb load 35Mile Range less than $7995 each

  4. America is way beyond the delivery system in this video. This video might be old and they have also upgraded their system.

  5. i think these delivery drones will have practical limit for a couple of reasons. firstly, if many companies get drones, than airspace will become an issue in cities and secondly delivering freight by drones could easily end up being an expensive and inefficient way of distributing large amounts of freight. It would only work for super urgent deliveries that people are prepared to pay extra for and would only be quicker overall if done on a small scale, otherwise they would need an incredible number of drones to keep up with demand.

  6. Love the look of these tilt-rotor delivery drones, but would they be reliable with only 2 motors instead of using say a hexa/octocopter drone?
    Drones will be everywhere in the future, they will reach people in hard to reach areas, delivering medical supplies, etc the list goes on so i can see these being used everywhere, great video thanks : )

  7. Cool video! I'm just now getting into drones/quads, I also subscribed fell free to check out my channel and subscribe if you'd like thanks.

  8. Europe has been around a lot longer than America. so I wouldn't be trying to brag.
    besides everything America tries to be first in America is first in .besides the only thing holding America back is a bunch of European commie ass holes in American government.

  9. Except for deliveries in very remote locations, I don't think the parcel delivery drone system is really very practical, and is fraught with potential abuse, tampering and illegal activity. I wish all of them the best of luck, though.


  10. Do you really want these things flying around your neighborhood? There's a reason why kids fly RC airplanes in open fields.

  11. whoa whoa whoa Europe you need to chill about being better then US the US has the most powerful military in the world

    This is years ahead of the attempt that UPS has shown. The tilt-wing over the quad copter design is a much more flight efficient setup by far, longer distance, more stable, better flight control and i'm sure that the guidance software is years ahead also.
    Great work DHL.
    See you all in the air.

  13. DHL's founder died and his nearly one billion dollar fortune went to four hookers that he knocked up in some poor tax haven shithole island. Look it up. Interesting story.

  14. Really? a flying thing with rotors? in what year do you live? In my world we use anti gravity levitation and teleportation delivery. But then again, all of our resources are used for the improvement of our civilization and we don't have wars over who has a better god. Shame on you silly humans, I will report "No intelligent life on earth" to my supervisors. Don't expect another visit from us.

  15. Heh, the same Europe that is being overrun by Islamist "refugees" that are violently raping the shit out of your women and commandeering large portions of your community as no-go zones for Europeans. This niche premium delivery technology is cool, but it is not life-changing for the whole of society.

  16. Wow…..what the fuck are you people smoking….unmanned propeller driven drones hauling junk through the air over populated areas?!?!? I pray I am the first victim of one of these falling from the sky because of the many malfunctions they suffer from and landing on me…….millions in damages and lawsuits out the ying yang. This is so impractical it's like dreaming you're a Jetson. It's a novelty, an occupation of the idle minded who cannot find real work. The Japanese showed the impracticality of drones years ago and they became the new kites in the sky. These things are toys. Once you get past a certain size/weight/distance ratio you might as well get a bloody helicopter or use ground transportation. There is no way the public is going to allow this to happen and any smart government will never allow this to be flown over natural and forested areas out west, especially after the fire season they've just had. Can you imagine the outcry of one of these crashing and the batteries bursting open and starting the fire season off with a bang. Nice try but let's move on……perhaps we can get that pesky Star Trek transporter you ordered last year working…..LOL!!!!!

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