In France, the General Directorate for Civil Aviation (DGAC) has authorised the DPDgroup to operate a regular commercial drone delivery service.
A statement on the DPD website said: “For the first time worldwide, a regular commercial route makes it possible to deliver parcels by drone.
“Once a week, the DPDgroup drone travels between Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Beaume and Pourrières, in south of France (Provence region). The route makes it possible to delivery items to a cut-off incubator of companies including a dozen start-ups specialised in technology. Their parcels now delivered by Chronopost and DPD France will be sent by drone from the Pick-up point in Saint-Maximin.”
DPD has been testing drone deliveries for some time – and it uses a model where the drone deposits and collects parcels in a “delivery terminal” which “protects access to the drone during landing and take-off phases”.
In partnership with Atechsys, DPDgroup began conducting tests to develop the drone in June 2014. After over 600 hours of test-flights, the DPDgroup drone first demonstrated its ability to fly in complete autonomy as it transported a parcel weighing 1.5kg over 14km in September 2015.