British postal company wants to deliver parcels to the Isles of Scilly with autonomous drone

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The British postal company Royal Mail is going to test an autonomous aircraft drone to deliver parcels to the Isles of Scilly, an island group south west of England. The drone flies between the mainland and one of the islands. The further delivery is via a smaller drone.

This is a one-month trial in which the Royal Mail will use a Windracers drone, the latter company writes. Windracers has developed an autonomous aircraft drone that flies with the help of two engines and can carry about 100 kilograms of mail and parcels. The drone is called Ultra and can fly in bad weather conditions such as fog. A single journey is 112 kilometers long, much of it without a line of sight. The return flight takes less than two hours, Windracers writes. Ultra has a range of a thousand kilometers.

The aircraft drone will fly from the British mainland to St Mary Airport, the only airport in the Isles of Scilly. Delivery to other islands within the Scilly group is by a smaller drone, which can take off and land vertically.

With the project, the Royal Mail says it wants to investigate how remote communities can be supplied with more sustainably. The British postal company still often uses manned flights for such deliveries. If the pilot proves successful, Royal Mail may want to deploy autonomous drones more widely. For the current project, the focus is on the corona pandemic, such as the delivery of personal protective equipment and corona test kits. However, other packages are also delivered, such as from shops.

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