Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

DHL cancels drone demonstration

William Payne
January 20, 2016
A planned demonstration of German delivery group DHL's latest drone for parcel deliveries was cancelled at the last moment owing to bad weather. The public demonstration before media had been intended to showcase a new drone that DHL had said was especially suitable for cold weather conditions.

The new DHL drone is designed like a vertical take off aircraft, with propeller engines on wings that swivel upwards. It has a two kilogramme (just under five pounds) carrying capacity over several kilometres.

DHL is also developing driverless vans.

Unlike Amazon and Google, DHL is not planning to use drones for doorstep deliveries. The company already has a network of parcel units with personal or business lockers throughout Germany. The company is planning for drones to deliver directly to the parcel units. Parcels can be autonomously placed inside the parcel unit through a door on the top. The DHL parcel unit can then automatically sort deliveries into the correct specific locker.

By flying to locker locations rather than aiming for doorstep deliveries, DHL believes that it will greatly simplify the process of drone delivery. It will also avoid the need to land in unfamiliar or potentially dangerous locations, and avoid obstacles.

DHL has already used drones to deliver medicines to German islands in the North Sea. A three month trial in 2014 used an earlier, helicopter modelled drone.