Drone delivery is taking off as the Finnish postal service is trailing the use of the aerial vehicles to fly parcels to certain addresses. The Posti Group is conducting a four-day experiment and is the first company in Europe to do so with drones delivering goods bought online between Helsinki and an island destination three miles away.
The parcels, which weigh no more than 3kg, are gripped by arms located beneath the drone and flown by a pilot to a designated landing spot. Sharper Shape, the company behind the technology, says a human pilot will always be in control of the drone as it is safer.
Another benefit of having a human pilot is the drone can fly routes that would otherwise be obstructed – something that is holding back the development of preprogrammed, fully-automated drone delivery.
The flight was successful – albeit having to land a little away from its original target due to windy conditions – and exhibited how a delivery can be made far quicker and easier to a destination that would have required a boat to reach.
Finland is not only vying to be one of the first countries to adopt drone delivery but is also pushing forward with working on automated traffic. The government is backing programs for use of new technologies within transportation.
The drone delivery is akin to that announced by Amazon last year – Amazon Prime Air – however, it is yet to take to the skies as it hammers out all manner or legal, technological and safety issues. The latest development is a proposal that could see a section of air space dedicated only to high-speed drones while sensors and GPS systems are having to be rigorously tested so they can fly, unmanned, at speed and avoid anything from birds, trees and opportunistic people looking to get themselves a free book.