The Royal Mail has unveiled plans to take to the skies in a new partnership with Windracers Group for more than 50 new postal drone delivery routes supported by 200 drones in the next three years.
The first locations to receive deliveries by drone will be the Isles of Scilly, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Hebrides.
The Royals Mail’s drones have a wingspan of 10 metres, twin engines and a carrying capacity of up to 100kg.
“The middle mile of supply and logistics, especially to remote locations, has long been overlooked by the industry and is ripe for innovation,” said Stephen Wright, chairman of Windracers Group, a logistics drone company that designs and builds delivery drones.
Plans for the new routes are still subject to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)’s approval.
Trials for the technology have already taken place with four over the last 18 months on the Isle of Mull, Isles of Scilly and the Orkney Islands
“We’ve spent the last five years focused on developing the most commercially viable essential logistics drones so we’re truly delighted to be working with Royal Mail on this ambitious and pioneering deployment of autonomous aircraft,” added Wright.
The drones aim to improve deliveries compared to current methods of ferries, aircraft and land vehicles.
Future plans for the service are to eventually expand to a fleet of over 500 drones delivering across the UK.
“On time delivery regardless of our customers location or the weather, whilst protecting our environment is our goal. Even though we go everywhere, Royal Mail already has the lowest CO2 emissions per parcel delivered, this initiative will help reduce our emissions even further,” said Simon Thompson, CEO of Royal Mail.
Royal Mail made the UK’s first drone package delivery to a Scottish island in December 2020.