Royal Mail drone delivery test

Royal Mail makes first delivery by drone on the Isle of Mull as part of a new trial to serve remote locations better

Royal Mail has joined forces with a consortium of established UK drone companies – including DronePrep and Skyports – and addressing technology what3words, to become the first nationwide UK parcel carrier to transport a parcel for recipients via an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In a UK first, the consortium arranged an initial drone delivery to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull this month (the what3words address was ///clip.nurtures.shortage).

“Delivering the first live parcel in the UK by an unmanned drone was a landmark day for us. We are incredibly proud to be working with DronePrep, Skyports and what3words to trial new ways to support the more remote and isolated communities we serve,” said Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail.

This is the first step in a groundbreaking consultation programme and trial in the New Year, which will focus on engaging with the community to explore the viability of using drones to deliver to rural communities on the Isle of Mull, where Skyports is already using its drones to help NHS Scotland with the response to COVID-19. This will help to identify opportunities to support postmen and postwomen in delivering to very remote areas and addresses in the UK.

As with all Royal Mail deliveries across the UK, the postcode will route the parcel towards its destination. The local postie will then use drone delivery to reach the most remote locations in their patch faster. For the drone delivery, residents consulted on the Isle of Mull will be invited to use the DronePrep platform to assess the viability of their property for drone delivery and pinpoint a suitable landing location within their ownership using the what3words integration.

Drones could be huge help for remote communities

“I am very pleased to be involved in this fantastic trial. It is an exciting opportunity to test out new ways of working to support us posties that deliver in some of the most remote areas of the UK. Some of the houses on the Isle of Mull include a thirty-minute walk to the front door so the use of drones will be a huge help!,” added Tom Nunn, local postman for Isle of Mull.

“This trial with Royal Mail, what3words and DronePrep has the potential to lay the foundations for a future service to complement the one provided by Royal Mail’s hard-working posties that we rely on today,” concluded Duncan Walker, Chief Executive of Skyports.

To enable this for the trial, Royal Mail is asking recipients to provide the what3words address, a 3 metre by 3 metre square, that corresponds to the precise landing point for delivery of Royal Mail parcels via the drone from the Royal Mail van.

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