Scottish islanders to receive mail by drone

The Orkney Islands are islands off the northern coast of Scotland. To offer their inhabitants a reliable and fast mail delivery service, Royal Mail and Skyports Drone Services have come together around a drone-based project. The service was originally planned for a three-month test period, but everything has worked so well that it should become permanent. This is the UK’s first permanent drone mail delivery service.

Limit the impact of the weather

The process begins with parcels and letters arriving at the post office in the small town of Stromness, where they are picked up by Skyports Drone Services. They are then delivered by drone to Royal Mail staff on the islands of Graemsay and Hoy, who take care of distributing them to their recipients. The geography and climate of this area are particularly harsh, leading to frequent delays as the postal service uses the sea route to transport mail between the islands, including regular ferry connections. However, when the weather is really bad, the ferries cannot always dock at the ports.

The drone-based solution would improve the reliability of mail and parcel delivery while reducing delays.

A success story that inspires

Skyports Drone Services uses Speedbird Aero DLV-2 drones. With its six rotors, this device can carry a load that can weigh 6 kg and measure a maximum of 370 x 370 x 225 mm. It has a range of 8 km. “Using an all-electric drone on a permanent basis supports Royal Mail’s ongoing effort to reduce emissions associated with our operations whilst connecting the island communities we serve”says Chris Paxton, head of drone projects at Royal Mail.

The British postal company seems convinced, and announces an ambitious program with 50 routes in perspective over the next three years and a fleet of 200 drones! 500 drones could eventually serve the whole of the UK.

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