DHL will do delivery-by-drone, but only for one tiny European island

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Richard Lawler
September 24th, 2014
DHL will do delivery-by-drone, but only for one tiny European island

While Netflix laughs, Amazon petitions and Google runs tests in New Zealand, DHL is about to actually launch drone delivery for its customers -- sort of. Of course, it's a rather limited launch, since the only eligible recipients are residents of Juist, a German island in the North Sea. DHL has been testing its PaketKopter system since late last year. Now, in partnership with the German government, it's established a flight path for its UAVs to take off and fly themselves 12km from a harbor in Norddeich to the island at a height of about 50m (164 feet) and up to 18 m/s (about 40mph). There's still no plans to use these for regular service, but you can get a peek at the drone in action by checking out the video after the break.

Gallery: DHL Paketkopter | 4 Photos

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While any flights will be monitored constantly from the ground, it's on autopilot from takeoff until landing. Unlike Google's Project Wing, it won't dangle or drop deliveries, instead PaketKopter lands at a pad and then a courier takes it the rest of the way to one of the island's 1,500 or so residents or vacationers. Another limitation is that for now it's only serving up medications, and only during certain times during the week and on weekends. covering times when the local ferry isn't available.


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