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In efforts to further reduce their carbon footprint and to improve delivery services in remote areas, UK Royal Mail will create over 50 new postal drone routes to be supported by up to 200 UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) throughout the next 3 years.
Subject to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval in partnership with the logistics drone company, Windracers, the objective is to post over 500 drones servicing all areas of the UK.
Four drone trials have been conducted over the last 18 months, and the latest of them, held in April, tested a 100-mile flight between Tingwall Airport in Lerwick to Unst (50 miles each way). The twin-engine UAV used in this trial, which has a wingspan of 10 metres and includes a high-reliability autopilot system, has proven capability of flying regardless of difficult weather conditions. Furthermore, up to 100 kilograms of mail of various shapes and sizes could be carried for two daily return flights between the islands.
The Isles of Scilly, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Hebrides will be the first routes to support the new service.