Remote communities in the Orkney Islands, an archipelago in the far north of Scotland, have become the first in the United Kingdom to be offered a drone-based mail delivery service.
The trial run will initially run for three months but could be prolonged if successful. The service is operated in collaboration with Skyports Drone Services and will use DLV-2 drones made by Speedbird Aero, a Brazilian air mobility solutions developer. The small, unmanned aircraft are able to carry parcels of up to 6 kilograms.
Mail will be flown from Stromness, on the western side of Orkney’s main island, to the neighboring islands of Hoy and Graemsay, where it will be delivered to the final recipients by the local post office.
This pioneering project is supported by Connected Places Catapult, an accelerator of urban and regional development and mobility innovation projects and has also received funding from the Department for Transport’s Freight Innovation Fund.
One of the project’s aims, in addition to the potential benefits and emission reductions, is to act as proof of concept for a broader use of unmanned aircraft in mail and parcel delivery.
Orkney has emerged as one of the UK’s testbeds for new aeronautical concepts, not just in the field of drone development, but also as a base for testing several different low-emission aviation concepts.