The DHL parcelcopter has started its early forays for R&D purposes.
DHL Parcel has debuted its parcelcopter research project in December 2013. Now the company has decided to take next step into its research project. DHL will soon launch first automatic delivery flights by parcelcopter in Europe and also regular flights to the North Sea island of Juist. Everything from goods to medications will be delivered via these smart drones.
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DHL Parcel is working with Two R&D partners, the Institute of Flight System Dynamics at RWTH Aachen University and Microdrones GmbH. The company has managed to get the approval of Lower Saxony's Ministry for Economics, Labor and Transport to have its own flight area for this research project.
DHL has managed to have a restricted flight area in coordination with DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. And the company can not only send parcelcopter flights to the island of Juist and the city of Norden but also to the Wattenmeer national park.
It is the first time that an unmanned flight has traversed European airspace. DHL has improved its parcelcopter since its debut last December. And after some modifications, now the DHL parcelcopter is able to deliver specific goods in specific areas.
DHL's research team improved flight duration, flight range and flight speed. And due to these improvements, the modified parcelcopter is now able to face special challenges that can occur due to wind and marine-weather conditions of the North Sea.
"Our DHL parcelcopter 2.0 is already one of the safest and most reliable flight systems in its class that meets the requirements needed to fulfill such a mission," said Jürgen Gerdes, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL's Post, eCommerce, Parcel Division.
"We are proud that this additional service can create added value for the residents of and visitors to the island of Juist and are pleased with the support we have received from the involved communities and agencies."
Initial operations have begun in the island of Juist. Due to increased flight duration and range of modified DHL parcelcopter, it has to travel only 12 kilometers to reach island of Juist. The flights of these parcelcopters are completely controlled from the ground level. They are carefully monitored to prevent any mishaps.
DHL parcelcopter has an autopilot with automated takeoff and landing functions that makes sure safety and reliability of the flight. And due to these functions, which have been tested extensively, DHL parcelcopter will always land at the right place.
The overall procedure is very safe and systematic. It is smooth sailing for the parcelcopter. And this critter will fly straight through the worst weather conditions too. It remains to be seen if it is feasible in practical life.
The drones that were developed by Jeff Bezos’ Amazon bear a likeness to the parcelcopter. They too were meant to deliver medium-sized packages over short distances.
And they were computerized hence there were little chances of collision with any object along the way. They could navigate their way through all the obstacles of airspace.
DHL said that its parcelcopter can travel up to 18 meters per second at an altitude of 50 meters. However, this traveling speed is variable and it depends upon the wind speed. DHL drones will first deliver medications to the island of Juist from mainland. And these deliveries will be done both during the week and also on weekends.
According to DHL, its parcelcopter will take off from Norddeich harbor and it land on its own launch pad and landing field on the island of Juist. A DHL courier will be there at the launch pad who will then take goods and deliver these to recipient.
DHL Parcel has also developed a special air-transport container for the security of goods during delivery flight. And this container is waterproof and weatherproof. And it is also very light weight. Hence, the process of delivering goods via DHL parcelcopter is very safe.
"With the DHL parcelcopter, an unmanned aircraft operating outside the controller's field of vision will perform deliveries for the first time in a real-world mission," Jürgen Gerdes said.
"Without the extremely high level of willingness to innovate and to find solutions exhibited by the involved agencies, communities and the Wattenmeer administrative unit of Lower Saxony, such a project would not be possible."
DHL has no plans at this time to use DHL parcelcopter for the delivery of normal parcels. Currently, the company will use its drones just to deliver specific goods. However, the company says that it will evaluate the possibilities of using its drones for normal deliveries after seeing the results of this test phase.
Besides this, there are yet unexplored avenues of transportation or rather teleportation that have to see the light of day. Scientists have been able to make atomic particles appear at different places in an instant in a similar manner to the “Beam Me Up, Scotty” style of Star Trek.
It remains for larger objects such as the human body and solid materials to end up travelling in a quantum leap down wormholes and hyperspace. But his is a long way off in the future.
For now, things will have to be managed physically and with a little help from the new field of artificial intelligence. Mankind has yet to complete its genetic potential which includes such wonders as the creation of life by life and the genesis of new atmospheres on barren planets.