Thursday, April 18, 2024

Orkney Islands become first UK location in the to deliver mail by drone

Royal Mail and Skyports Drone Services announced the Orkney I-Port operation, a drone delivery project in partnership with the Orkney Islands Council Harbor Authority and Loughnaire. They have set a daily inter-island mail delivery service between the three islands on Orkney. The main goal of this collaboration is to streamline mail delivery between the islands and improve service levels and delivery times for residents.

Previously, mail and parcels were carried by ferries, and in bad weather, ferries had to pause for safe docking. Orkney’s climate and geography make it very difficult for Royal Mail to deliver and provide an uninterrupted delivery service to its residents.

For Orkney I-port operations, Skyports Drone Services has partnered with Brazil based Speedbird Aero that will provide its DLV-2 electric aircraft.

Using electric drones for inter-island deliveries will also significantly improve safety, allowing postal workers to deliver without risk between ports and marinas across Orkney.

Speedbird DLV-2 drone is selected for Orkney I-Port project due to its large payload capacity of 6kg. The DLV-2 drone has a wheelbase of 1600mm and is capable of fly to a maximum range of 16 km.

The drone service will help Royal Mail to provide uninterrupted service regardless of the weather. This partnership between Skyports Drone Services and Speedbird Aero will help deliver mail and parcels and reduce carbon emissions using these drones.

Due to the unique landscape of Orkney and the proximity of the islands to one another, take-off and landing sites and the ability to operate flights using Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) clearances instead of Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).

The first deliveries were completed in July this year and will continue till October. With these first deliveries the Orkney Islands has become the first location in the UK to deliver mail by drone. The project will initially run for three months, with plans to extend it.

Letters and parcels will be taken from Royal Mail’s Kirkwall delivery office in Stromness. Skyports Drone Services will deliver drones to Royal Mail staff on Grimsey and Hoy. Postal workers will carry out their usual island delivery routes from these locations.

Skyports received £150,000 ($189,928) in grant funding to test the Orkney I-port operation as part of the UK government-funded program Freight Innovation Fund.