UAV DHL successfully completes autonomous drone tests in East Africa

  • DHL

Cargo giant DHL has stated, that the company has successfully completed tests with autonomous drones in East Africa.

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Together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and drone manufacturer Wingcopter, DHL has successfully completed the pilot project in Tanzania.

Over a period of six months, three experts tested the delivery of medicines using an autonomous drone. The DHL Parcelcopter 4.0 flew missions to an island in Lake Victoria. On average, the aircraft needed 40 minutes to complete the 60km flight from mainland to island.

In total, the project included more than 180 take-offs and landings. The Parcelcopter 4.0 was in the air for about 2,000 flight minutes and flew over 2,200km.

With the project, DHL and its partners hope to revolutionize the delivery of medicines to remote areas using drones. This pilot project showed, that this vision is not science fiction.

The Parcelcopter opens up new opportunities, as it does not need any infrastructure due to the vertical take-offs and landings. It addresses the logistic challenges in public health sectors, especially supplying pharmacies and hospitals.

Especially developing nations have limited medical care. This is often reasoned by difficult terrain and poor infrastructure. These circumstances make it nearly impossible to provide emergency medication quick enough.

DHL sees more potential in their autonomous cargo system. In a statement, the company wrote: “In future, the Parcelcopter could therefore not only improve logistics in the public health sector: it has the potential to help prevent crises worldwide, for example allowing an early response to slow the spread of viral diseases like Ebola."

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