Aerospace engineer and founder of the ‘African Drone Voice’, Ackson Kondwani Mwenda, describes the service as “Awesome”. Trenton Oldfield, co-coordinator at UrbanStudies.info said, “I would invest in this! The revitalization of rural areas from such technology will be immense, profound and wonderful! I cannot wait!” And Greg Major, technical sales and writer/marketeer at Homershams says, “Wow! That’s fantastic.”
First introduced last December, DPD uses drones to deliver parcels to remote Alpine villages. According to The Guardian newspaper, DPD director, Jen Luc DeFrance was quoted in ‘Le Parisien’: “During the Alpine winter period, there are regular snowfalls that can stop traditional deliveries. Drones are more reliable, quicker, and safer than driving a van up a narrow mountain road when these roads are often icy or blocked by snow.” Adding, “For the customer it guarantees that they will receive their parcel even if the roads are impassable.”
The Alpine area has experienced heavy falls in late February and early March with a further foot of snow falling this week in some regions.
A delivery by drone that takes roughly 8 minutes, a similar round trip with a postal van takes about 30 minutes. The unmanned craft is launched during a normal postal delivery from a special launch and landing platform that emerges from the side of the vehicle. The drone is then flown to a secure terminal near the village where it releases the package that will be collected by the customer using a code at a later point in time.
The French Postal Service subsidiary started using drones to make deliveries back in 2014 and has been fine-tuning the technology ever since.
The unmanned aircraft has six electric motors that can be charged using solar panels alongside a built-in GPS system. The first deliveries were made with drones in the Isère region of southeast France. The craft carry small parcels between the villages Fontanil-Cornillon to Mont Aint-Martin which is 2,493 feet above sea level in the Chartreuse mountains.
The drones used to deliver the parcels have a number of safety features built-in, including an autonomous parachute system, an anti-collision system, as well as a camera and flight recorder in case anything would go wrong.
The drone is restricted in the size and weight of the parcels it can carry. All packages need to be less than 4.4 pounds and can be no larger than 12.2 inches by 6 inches by 4 inches.
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