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France: DPD Launches Regular Drone Delivery Service

Mountainous regions, islands, and remote rural areas are the main operational areas for delivery drones. Up until now, only test flights have ever been carried out, but the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has now, for the very first time, given the green light for unmanned mail flights.

29 Dec. 2016
DPD Drohne
The flight of the Drone is monitored by a control center (Photo: DPD)

French parcel delivery company DPDgroup, which operates in Germany under the brand DPD , claims to have launched the world’s first scheduled drone delivery service. Once a week, an unmanned system now operates between Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Beaume and a start-up center in neighboring Pourrières, in the southern French region of Provence. The drone completes the approximately 15-km journey between the two locations completely autonomously, with speeds of up to 30 km/hour and transporting parcels weighing up to 3 kg. The flight is monitored by a control center.

Logistics providers are starting to show keen interest in the use of drones, in particular in those areas in which it is very expensive or not profitable to transport parcels. For example, the German company DHL has this year been testing the delivery of parcels by drone in Reit im Winkl in Bavaria , Swiss Post next year plans to link one of its customer’s two locations with an aerial transport service, and Amazon has had a video of the first Prime Air delivery of a parcel to a remote house in England on its website since mid-December.

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