July 19, 2024

Drone Delivery Takes Flight in Remote Scottish Islands

2 min read

Residents of the remote islands of Graemsay and Hoy in Orkney, Scotland, are now receiving their mail via drone, making them the first in the UK to benefit from this innovative delivery method. The project, launched by Royal Mail and Skyports Drone Services, aims to improve mail delivery efficiency and reduce delays caused by weather and geography.

The drone service, which will initially operate for three months, will transport mail from Stromness to the remote islands, where postal staff will complete the final delivery routes. The use of drones will significantly improve service levels and delivery times, as the current delivery methods by ferry or small planes can be disrupted by adverse weather conditions.

“Orkney is just one example of a hard-to-reach location that will benefit significantly from regular recurring drone operations,” said Alex Brown, Director at Skyports Drone Services. The inter-island flights will be conducted using an all-electric Speedbird Aero DLV-2 drone, capable of carrying payloads of up to 6kg and with a range of 8km.

Royal Mail’s drone delivery plans were first announced last year, with the aim of establishing over 50 drone routes supported by up to 200 drones within the next three years. The long-term goal is to deploy a fleet of more than 500 drones to serve communities across the UK.

The project is funded by the Department for Transport’s Freight Innovation Fund and executed by the Connected Places Catapult, with a focus on making the UK’s freight sector greener and more efficient. Similar drone delivery trials have been conducted by companies such as Amazon in the US and SingPost in Singapore.

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