United Kingdom

Mail bosses will use drones to deliver PPE and Covid testing kits to the Isles of Scilly

Royal Mail is to trial the use of drones to deliver health and safety equipment, such as Covid testing kits, to the Isles of Scilly.

It will be the first autonomous scheduled drone flight between the UK mainland and an island.

If successful, the technology could be used in remote areas across Britain.

The project, which has had Government funding, will first deliver PPE and testing kits to the most vulnerable and remote communities. 

The company's new drone programme is going to be used to to trial on delivering health and safety equipment to the Isles of Scilly

Parcels will be flown from Perranporth in Cornwall to St Mary’s airport by drone, pictured, with up to 220lb (100kg) of mail at a time.

A smaller drone will then take items to delivery points throughout the islands. The 70-mile route means the craft will be out of sight from controllers before reaching its destination.

The delivery will be made to the Isles of Scilly (pictured)

Royal Mail chief commercial officer Nick Landon said the technology will help ‘deliver fast and convenient services’.

The trial will also examine what fuel efficiencies the drones could provide, as part of Royal Mail’s drive to reduce emissions associated with its operations.

Amy Richards, a postwoman on the Isles of Scilly, said: ‘There are some really remote areas on these islands, and this is a terrific way to help us reach them.

‘It’s really important for us to do all we can to help all areas of the country stay connected, especially in these difficult times.’

The technology could be used to access remote areas of the country, should the trial be a success

In December, the first return flight from Land’s End Airport in Cornwall to St Mary’s Airport on the Isles of Scilly saw the first-ever freight drone flight between two UK commercial airports.

During the first flight, the drone carried a NHS supply box out to the Isles and returned with a selection of local produce, including flowers and artisan gin.

The project, which has received Government-funding, has been developed in partnership with DronePrep, Skyports, Consortiq Limited, the University of Southampton, Excalibur Healthcare Services and Windracers Limited.

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