Innovation for delivering difficult-to-reach areas

 

In December 2016, the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC) authorised DPDgroup to deliver parcels by drone on a regular commercial line in the Var between St Maximin la Sainte Baume and Pourrières.

This first line demonstrated the value of drone technology for delivering parcels to isolated sites.

Thanks to these two years of operation, DPDgroup's parcel subsidiaries are able to deploy drone delivery solutions.

For this second commercial line, DPD France innovates by deploying the "Delivery Assistant" solution: the drone is used during the usual delivery round from a vehicle specially equipped with a mobile device.
The mobile device allows the deployment of drone take-off and landing equipment directly from the side door of the delivery truck.


During their rounds, if the deliveryman has parcels for Mont-Saint-Martin customers, they park their vehicle on a place dedicated to Fontanil-Cornillon in order to carry out the manoeuvres in complete safety :

  • activate the deployment of the device,
  • scan the parcel,
  • clip the parcel under the drone,
  • make sure the area around the truck is clear,
  • request take-off clearance from the operator Atechsys,
  • and wait for the drone to take off.

     

     

When the parcels arrive in Mont-Saint-Martin, they are dropped off by the drone in a fixed and secure reception terminal near the town hall, which allows several parcels to be received and stored.

The parcel is placed in a compartment protecting it from the weather. An acknowledgement of delivery is sent by SMS/email to an employee of the town hall who can then receive the parcel in the compartment just like in a letterbox and deliver it in person to the final consignee. Once the parcel is delivered, the drone returns to the truck and the delivery driver can resume their delivery round.

8 minutes by drone against 30 minutes by car usually, the delivery driver has to travel 20 km for about 30 minutes round trip to get to Mont-Saint-Martin.

For the delivery driver, in addition to the time saving generated, it means a reduction in road risk on dangerous and sometimes impassable roads in the mountains, especially in winter. For the customer, it is the guarantee of receiving their parcel even when the road is made impassable by rain. Finally, as the drone's propulsion is electric, it does not emit CO2 in this protected natural environment. The implementation of this service follows a research project supported by ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency).

Technical features of the drone :
Operational capabilities:
Range: up to 15 km, i.e. about 45mn (depending on the wind)
Payload: up to 2 kg
Unladen weight: 4 kg
Cruising speed: 30 km/h

Technical features :
6 electric rotors Carbon fibre chassis Redundant on-board electronics
Navigation system: onboard GPS and real-time trajectory monitoring
Transmission range: up to 30 km
Ground station for programming and supervision
Security: Autonomous parachute
Collaborative anti-collision system
Supervision cockpit
Camera with ground transmission and flight recorder

Delivery terminal :
This innovative device secures the drone’s take-off, landing, loading and unloading phases. As a connected object, it communicates delivery information to customers in real time.

drone
drone

Technical data of the receiving terminal :
Dimensions: 2.4m high, central diameter 1.2m
Power supply: 230V / 50Hz
Energy autonomy: by photo-voltaic panels
Connectivity: wifi and 3-4G
Deposit box capacity: up to 10 parcels
Precision positioning: integrated
Availability: automatic operation 24 hours a day, remote maintenance
All-weather (IP64 standard)
Adapted for people with reduced mobility