Shipping company DHL will begin piloting drone deliveries in a real-world setting on Friday.
The “parcelcopter,” as the DHL drone is called, will jettison medicine and other goods to Juist, a German island in the North Sea. The car-free island has a population of about 1,700 people, and drone flights will take place when other aircraft and ferries aren’t operating.
The company previously tested a drone, but it was operated in a controlled environment. To prepare for the 12-kilometer flight over the North Sea, DHL modified its prototype for duration, range, and speed. The parcelcopter can travel up to 65 kilometers an hour.
“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,” Jürgen Gerdes, CEO of DHL’s post, e-commerce, and parcel division, said in a statement. “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.”
Aside from DHL, Google recently completed a series of drone deliveries in Australia, and Amazon first revealed its intentions to deliver packages autonomously last December. The e-commerce giant revealed in April that it was working on its seventh-generation prototype.