Delivery Drone
In December 2016 Connect Robotics delivered food for an old man in the mountains of Portugal.
In December 2013, the DHL parcel service subsidiary of Deutsche Post AG tested a "microdrones md4-1000" for delivery of medicine.

A delivery drone, is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) utilized to transport packages, food or other goods.


In the United States initial attempts at commercial use of UAVs, such as the Tacocopter company for food delivery, were blocked by FAA regulation.[1] As of 2015, delivering of packages with drones in the United States is not permitted.[2] On the 13th March 2015, in Sheffield, FPS Distribution completed the first commercial delivery using a UAV.[3]

In healthcare

The RQ-7 Shadow is capable of delivering a 20 lb (9.1 kg) "Quick-MEDS" canister to front-line troops.

UAVs can transport medicines and vaccines, and retrieve medical samples, into and out of remote or otherwise inaccessible regions.[4] "Ambulance drones" rapidly deliver defibrillators in the crucial few minutes after cardiac arrests, and include livestream communication capability allowing paramedics to remotely observe and instruct on-scene individuals in how to use the defibrillators.[5]

In July 2015, the FAA approved the first such use of a drone within the United States, to deliver medicine to a rural Virginia medical clinic in a program called "Let's Fly Wisely".[6]

In Rwanda and Tanzania "zipline" drones are used to deliver blood and pharmaceutical products.[7]


Drug smuggling

Drug cartels have used UAVs to transport contraband, sometimes using GPS-guided UAVs.[8]

Prison smuggling

From 2013 and 2015, UAVs were observed delivering items into prisons on at least four occasions in the United States while four separate but similar incidents occurred in Ireland, Britain, Australia and Canada as well. Though not a popular way of smuggling items into prisons, corrections officials state that some individuals are beginning to experiment with UAVs.[9]

In November 2013, four people in Morgan, Georgia were arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle contraband into Calhoun State Prison with a six-rotor remote controlled helicopter.[10][11] The suspects were found with "probably about one or two pounds of tobacco rolled up".[10][11]

In 2014 a quadcopter crashed into an exercise yard of Wheatfield Prison, Dublin.[12][13][14] The quadcopter collided with wires designed to prevent helicopters landing to aid escapes, causing it to crash.[12][13][14] A package containing drugs hung from the quadcopter and was seized by prisoners before prison staff could get to it.[12][13][14] The damaged quadcopter was handed over to an Garda Síochána.[12][13][14]

Between 2014 and 2015, at two prisons in South Carolina, items such as drugs and cell phones were flown into the area by UAVs with authorities and one prison not knowing how many deliveries were successful before gaining the attention of authorities.[9]


In 2017 drone delivery startup Flytrex deployed a commercial drone delivery route in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik

Connect Robotics, in a pilot project with Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Penela and Penela Town Hall, made a first meal delivery per drone in December 2016. The project intends to be an alternative to the transport done with the mini-van. The first beneficiary to take advantage of this delivery service was Joaquim dos Reis, a septuagenarian living in Podentinhos, who, in addition to meals delivered by the drone, continue to receive the home assistance provided by Santa Casa.[15][16][17][18]

The Tacocopter is a taco delivery concept utilizing a smartphone app to order drone-delivered tacos in San Francisco area. It was created by MIT graduate Star Simpson and its website went live in July 2011, garnering attention from the public and media.[19] The revelation that it didn't exist as a delivery system or app led to it being labelled a hoax.[19][20]

An independent British franchise of Domino's Pizza tested a remote-controlled drone, called DomiCopter, to deliver pizzas. It was developed by a joint effort of U.K. drone specialist AeroSight, Big Communications and creative agency T + Biscuits. A short footage video was released in June 2013.[21]

A German-based restaurant on Anna Maria Island Florida, is testing a remote-controlled drone delivery service. The delivery is called Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus AIR, to deliver Schnitzel#Wiener Schnitzel to the nearby beach. It is currently pending regulatory approval. It was developed inhouse with DJI drone parts. A footage video was released in November 2015.[22]

Burrito-by-drone deliveries to be tested at the Virginia Tech campus by Chipotle and Google as per articles from September 2016.[23] This is not the first time the concept has come up. There used to be the "burrito bomber" in 2012.[24]

Pizza deliveries via drone are now being trialed in New Zealand by Domino's. The concept can be traced back to 2012 to a Free University of Berlin student project. Other pizza delivery drone attempts include the DomiCopter from Domino's (UK, 2013), Francesco's Pizzeria (India, 2014), Dodo Pizza (Russia, 2014) and Vero Verde Pizza (Brazil, 2014).[25]

Marriott International used drones to deliver cocktails and drinks to the tables of guests at multiple properties in 2017 including the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Chicago, IL.[26]

Postal deliveries

With the rapid demise of snail mail and the explosive double digit growth of e-commerce, postal companies have been forced to seek new ways to yond their traditional letter delivery business models. Different postal companies from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore and Ukraine have undertaken various drone trials as they test the feasibility and profitability of unmanned delivery drone services.[27]



Matternet is a Silicon Valley startup developing small UAVs for the delivery of lightweight goods. It had its origins in 2011 out of Singularity University, based at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA.[28][29][30] Their transportation solution comprises small UAVs able to carry up to 1 kilogram goods over distances of up to 20 kilometers on a battery charge.[31] The UAVs are connected to a Cloud Software that aggregates weather, terrain and airspace data, and creates geo-fenced aerial routes for safe flight. The system is controlled by a smartphone app. It's been reported that Matternet is also developing automatic landing stations, where the UAVs would swap batteries to extend their range.[32] They have announced a public launch of the first UAV for transportation in Q1 of 2015.[33] Their website reports that Matternet is creating "The 'Apple II' of the drone industry: the most easy to use, desirable and safest personal flying vehicle you have ever experienced."[34][35][36]

Amazon Prime Air - founder Jeff Bezos' December 2013 announcement that Amazon was planning rapid delivery of lightweight commercial products using UAVs was met with skepticism, with perceived obstacles including federal and state regulatory approval, public safety, reliability, individual privacy, operator training and certification, security (hacking), payload thievery, and logistical challenges.[37] In July 2014 it was revealed Amazon was working on its 8th and 9th drone prototypes, some that could fly 50 miles per hour and carry 5-pound packages, and had applied to the FAA to test them.[38]

In December 2013, in a research project of Deutsche Post AG subsidiary DHL, a sub-kilogram quantity of medicine was delivered via a prototype Microdrones "parcelcopter", raising speculation that disaster relief may be the first place the company will use the technology.[39][40]DHL Parcelcopter already in use in Germany.[41]


In February 2014, the prime minister and cabinet affairs minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that the UAE planned to launch a fleet of UAVs for civilian purposes.[42] Plans were for the UAVs to use fingerprint and eye-recognition systems to deliver official documents such as passports, ID cards and licenses, and supply emergency services at accidents. A battery-powered prototype four-rotor UAV about half a meter across was displayed in Dubai.[43]

In August 2014, Google revealed it had been testing UAVs in Australia for two years. The Google X program known as "Project Wing" aims to produce drones that can deliver not only products sold via e-commerce, but larger delivery items[44]

In December 2014, French mail services company La Poste unveiled an experimental[45] delivery drone project.


In February 2015, Hangzhou based e-commerce provider Ali Baba started[46] delivery drone services around select cities in China.

In March 2015, Shenzhen-based SF Express started[47] providing delivery services with Xaircraft drones in China.

UK-based FPS Distribution[48] and Switzerland's Swiss Post are both developing[49] drone delivery services for wide-scale use.

USPS has been testing delivery systems[50] with HorseFly Drones. FedEx is reported to be testing integration of drone delivery with their existing logistics[51] model.

In May 2015, CJ Express initiates[52] delivery with drone services in South Korea.


In April 2016, a joint project in Japan involving the central government, Chiba City, research institutions and companies including Rakuten was launched to trial home drone deliveries in an urban area. A similar test project was carried out in Naka, Tokushima in February 2016 as a way to facilitate shopping for people who live in a depopulated area.[53]

In Japan both the e-commerce behemoth Rakuten and retail giant AEON have undertaken package delivery tests. AEON conducted a drone delivery test which involved delivering a bottle of wine, toward targeting actual drone home delivery services for the year 2019 for Aeon Mall, the company's online shopping site. Rakuten on the other hand, which in early 2016 delivered refreshments and golf balls within a golf course, expanded upon that test service and in November 2016 performed a new test of package delivery service with upgraded capability. Making improvements over the previous test, Rakuten partnered with mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo to integrate the use of the cellular LTE network for long distance delivery capability testing. And in addition to modifications to the product ordering app and drone control dashboard, the new delivery drone included a number of performance enhancements including water-resistance, long-distance flight with fully autonomous control and was equipped with a parachute to slow the speed of the fall in an emergency, offering a greater level of safety. The delivery of cargo using the drone was carried out at the Inage Seaside Park in Chiba City, Japan and adjacent sea area.[54][55]

In December 2016, Connect Robotics, a startup incubated by ESA BIC Portugal that automates Drones for transportation, made its first delivery. It is operating in Portugal and is working to make drones integration in the airspace safe as a founder member of the Global UTM Association.[56][57]


In China, has been aggressively developing its drone capabilities. As of June 2017, had seven different types of delivery drones in testing or operation across four provinces in China (Beijing, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Jiangsu). The drones are capable of delivering packages weighing between 5 and 30 kg (11 to 66 lbs) while flying up to 100 km/hr (62 mph). The drones do not deliver goods directly to people's homes. Rather, they automatically fly along fixed routes from warehouses to special landing pads where one of's 300,000 local contractors then delivers the packages to the customers' doorsteps in the rural villages. The e-commerce giant is now working on a 1 metric ton (1,000 kg) delivery drone which will be tested in Shaanxi.[58]

Flytrex, an Israeli startup which specializes in developing drone delivery solutions, partnered with AHA in 2015,[59] Iceland's largest eCommerce website, and together they initiated a drone delivery route which would shorten AHA's delivery times from 30 minutes, to less than 5.[60] The system was deployed On 25 August 2017 and is now delivering food and small electronics via drones.[61]


In January 2018, Boeing unveiled a prototype of a cargo drone for up to 500lb (227kg) payloads, an electric flying testbed debuted flight tests at Boeing Research and Technology's Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.[62]

See also


  1. ^ Gilbert, Jason (20 August 2012). "Tacocopter Aims To Deliver Tacos Using Unmanned Drone Helicopters". The Huffington Post. 
  2. ^ "FAA Clarifies That Amazon Drones Are Illegal". Mashable. June 24, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  3. ^ "FPS takes flight with first commercial UK drone delivery". PRWeb. March 24, 2015. Retrieved 2017. 
  4. ^ Raptopoulos, Andreas (June 2013). "No roads? There's a drone for that". TED (conference). Archived from the original on 21 November 2013.  (Click "Show transcript".)
  5. ^ Prigg, Mark (October 28, 2014). "The ambulance drone that could save your life: Flying defibrillator can reach speeds of 60mph". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on November 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Pepitone, Julianne (17 July 2015). "First FAA-Approved Drone Delivery Drops Medicine in Virginia". NBC News. 
  7. ^ TED (2017-12-18), How we're using drones to deliver blood and save lives | Keller Rinaudo, retrieved  
  8. ^ Valencia, Nick (January 22, 2015). "Drone carrying drugs crashes south of U.S. border". CNN. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Schmidt, Michael S. (22 April 2015). "Airmail via Drones Is Vexing for Prisons". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Perez, Lindsay (27 November 2013). "Drone tries to sneak contraband into Georgia prison". Retrieved 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Gallagher, Sean (27 November 2013). "Drone crew caught attempting to deliver smokes to prison inmates". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d Lally, Conor (25 June 2014). "Remote control helicopter used to smuggle drugs into prison". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Airborne device crashes at Wheatfield Prison". RTÉ News. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c d Feehan, Conor; Hutton, Brian (25 June 2014). "Video: Remote control drone carrying drugs crash-lands at Wheatfield Prison". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2014. 
  15. ^ Lusa, RTP, Rádio e Televisão de Portugal -. "Entrega personalizada de refeições a idosos por drone testada em Penela" (in Portuguese). Retrieved . 
  16. ^ "Drone entrega comida em aldeia isolada de Coimbra". tvi24 (in Portuguese). 2016-12-20. Retrieved . 
  17. ^ SAPO. "Em Penela já há drones a levar refeições a idosos - SAPO 24". SAPO 24 (in Portuguese). Retrieved . 
  18. ^ "Entrega de refeições a idosos por drone testada em Penela". SIC Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved . 
  19. ^ a b "Tacocopter: The Coolest Airborne Taco Delivery System That's Completely Fake". Wired. March 23, 2012. Retrieved 2014. 
  20. ^ Rodriguez, Salvador (28 March 2012). "Tacocopter the latest in a rich tradition of Internet hoaxes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014. 
  21. ^ "Now that's a special delivery: Domino's builds DRONE to deliver pizzas by air and beat the traffic". Dailymail. June 5, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  22. ^ "Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus AIR, the future of food delivery". Website. 16 Nov 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  23. ^ "Drones Will Deliver Chipotle Burritos to Virginia Tech Students". 
  24. ^ Bradley, Jeremy. "It's one delicious drone -- the Burrito Bomber". CNN. 
  25. ^ "Pizza Pie in the Sky - A Brief History of Using Drones to Deliver Pizzas". 2016-09-28. Retrieved . 
  26. ^ Lee, Ronda. "Marriott Marquis Chicago: Local Centric Global Reach". Huffington Post. 
  27. ^ "Drones Going Postal - A Summary of Postal Service Delivery Drone Trials". June 27, 2016. 
  28. ^ "To Boldly Go Where No Start-up Has Gone Before". September 1, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Singularity University Graduates A Class Of Tech World Changers". August 28, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Matternet Delivers Drugs By Robocopter". August 27, 2011. 
  31. ^ "No roads? There's a drone for that". June 2013. 
  32. ^ "An Internet Of Airborne Things". December 1, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Matternet Products". 
  34. ^ "Matternet Products". 
  35. ^ "vhdrones". Retrieved 2015. 
  36. ^ "Meet The Startup That's Using Drones To Change The World". November 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  37. ^ Robillard, Kevin; Byers, Alex (2 December 2013). "Amazon drones: Obstacles to the Bezos dream". Politico. Archived from the original on 6 December 2013. 
  38. ^ "E-commerce giant Amazon seeks FAA nod for testing drones". Seattle Bulletin. Retrieved 2014. 
  39. ^ Fuest, Benedikt (9 December 2013). "DHL testet erstmals Paketlieferung per Drohne". Die Welt. 
  40. ^ Elliot, Danielle (9 December 2013). "DHL testing delivery drones". CBS News. 
  41. ^ "DHL parcelcopter launches initial operations for research purposes". 
  42. ^ Kerr, Simon (11 February 2014) UAE to develop fleet of drones to deliver public services, The Financial Times, World News, Retrieved 12 February 2014
  43. ^ Sleiman, Mirna (10 February 2014) Aerial ID card renewal: UAE to use drones for government services Reuters, Retrieved 12 February 2014
  44. ^ Alexis C. Madrigal (28 August 2014). "Inside Google's Secret Drone-Delivery Program". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015. 
  45. ^ "GeoPost (La Poste) expérimente l'utilisation d'un drone pour la livraison ! GeoDrone". 
  46. ^ "Alibaba's Delivery Drones Over China". 
  47. ^ "SF-Express Logistics UAV by XAIRCRAFT". 
  48. ^ FPS Distribution Press Release (13 March 2015) First UK Commercial Delivery with Drone
  49. ^ "Global Wellbeing: Disruptive Delivery Drones". Retrieved . 
  50. ^ "USPS Drone Delivery | CNBC". Apr 22, 2015. 
  51. ^ "FedEx Researching Drone Delivery But Not For Widespread Use". 
  52. ^ "CJ? "CJ Sky-Door" ". 
  53. ^ "Japan starts trial drone home delivery service in Chiba". The Japan Times. 
  54. ^ "Japan big retailers Rakuten and Aeon test drone delivery service". DronesOnVideo. 
  55. ^ "Drone package delivery projects around the world". DronesOnVideo. 
  56. ^ "Connect Robotics - Drone Delivery Automation". Retrieved . 
  57. ^ UPTEC,Quodis. "Connect Robotics | UPTEC". Retrieved . 
  58. ^ "What do China's Delivery Drones Look Like? - JD.Com Spotlight". 2017-10-26. Retrieved . 
  59. ^ " - Allra Hagur". Retrieved 2017. 
  60. ^ Maack, Már Másson (14 September 2017). "I went to Iceland to prove drone deliveries are bullshit (and I failed)". Retrieved 2017. 
  61. ^ Holley, Peter (25 August 2017). "You can now have sushi delivered by a drone". Retrieved 2017 - via 
  62. ^ Stephen Trimble (10 Jan 2018). "Unmanned cargo lifter deepens Boeing's push on autonomy". Flightglobal. 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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