Royal Mail pioneers drone delivery initiative in remote Scottish island
The UK’s Royal Mail has partnered with Skyports Drone Services to launch a drone delivery service for remote island communities in the north of Scotland.
The Orkeny I-Port operation, announced earlier this week, will see full electric drones deliver daily letters and packages across three islands in the Orkney archipelago. It follows a successful trial conducted earlier this year that served the Shetland Islands, in partnership with Windracers.
The project will initially be part of a three-month trial which, if successful could be rolled out into the UK’s first permanent drone delivery project. Royal Mail said it would operate within existing regulatory frameworks due to the unique landscape of the Orkney Islands.
The Speedbird Aero DLV-2 drones – which can carry a payload of up to 6KG – will distribute letters and parcels to local postal staff on the islands, who will carry out their regular delivery routes.
“We are certainly not looking to replace the great work our postmen and postwomen do,” explained Royal Mail in a statement.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s our new fully electric drone deliveries in Orkney!
Working with @Skyports_DS, we’ve established a daily inter-island mail distribution service between three islands on Orkney.
— Royal Mail (@RoyalMail) August 1, 2023
Royal Mail says the introduction of low emission vehicles such as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) will contribute towards their long-term environmental strategy.
Director of Skyports, Alex Brown, says by leveraging drone technology they are “revolutionising mail services in remote communities, providing more efficient and timely delivery, and helping to reduce the requirement for emissions-producing vehicles.”
The partnership between Royal Mail and Skyports marks a milestone in the logistics sector, and the success of these projects demonstrates the potential for expansion of operations across the rest of the UK.
Other drone delivery schemes have been operating in other markets for a few years now, such as DHL’s fully automated and intelligent smart drone deliveries in China.
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