DHL is about to launch a mini-parcel trial to a North Sea Island:-
Forschungsprojekt DHL Paketkopter
TV footage: DHL parcelcopter 2.0 pilot project
Juist is a tiny North Sea island (just 7km long) 12km from the German mainland, from Norddeich harbour. The pod underneath can carry up to 1.2 kg whilst the entire drone weighs about 5 kg. It was developed jointly by Microdrones GmbH and the Institute of Flight System Dynamics at RWTH Aachen University.
The drone flies at an altitude of 50m at up to 18m per second (approx 65kmph (40mph)) depending on wind speed. The entire flight takes 15 to 30 minutes, and will be conducted entirely over non-urban territory, with a ground station in control, and only when neither the ferry nor piloted flights are available. The authorising agencies have insisted on all flights being monitored from the ground, although the actual flight itself will be completely automated, requiring zero input from outside from take-off to landing. The maiden flight was last December 2013, and the pilot project will begin "soon".
--------- Alex Kemp