Royal Mail deploys drone in UK-first parcel delivery trial

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Royal Mail has partnered with a consortium of technology companies to become the first nationwide parcel carrier to transport a parcel for recipients via an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

In a UK first, British drone companies Skyports and DronePrep, addressing technology company what3words and Royal Mail successfully delivered a parcel via drone to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “Delivering the first live parcel in the UK by an unmanned drone was a landmark day for us. We are incredibly proud to be working with DronePrep, Skyports and what3words to trial new ways to support the more remote and isolated communities we serve.

“This is part of our constant drive to incorporate the best innovative technologies into our network. We’ve seen a huge increase in parcel volumes this year and this is just one of the ways we are looking at to support our frontline delivery staff and deliver fast, convenient and green services for all of our customers.”

Next year the consortium will undertake a consultation with islanders on the use of drones to deliver to rural communities on the Isle of Mull – the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides. According to Royal Mail, this will help to identify opportunities to support postmen and postwomen in delivering to very remote areas and addresses in the UK.

For the drone delivery, residents consulted on the Isle of Mull will be invited to use the DronePrep platform to assess the viability of their property for drone delivery and pinpoint a suitable landing location within their ownership using the what3words integration.

To enable this, Royal Mail is asking recipients to provide the what3words address, a 3m x 3m square, that corresponds to the precise landing point for delivery of Royal Mail parcels via the drone from the Royal Mail van.

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