23. December 2020 | Press release
A drone instead of a reindeer: the first gifts were delivered by air in Latvia
23 December 2020 – For the first time in Latvia, Christmas presents were delivered with a fully remotely piloted drone. Delivery of gifts of LMT tablets in Vidzeme was realized in cooperation with the companies Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT), SPH Engineering and DPD Latvia. The drone’s flight was performed outside the pilot’s direct line of sight and was connected to a mobile network.
It has long been said that Santa, delivering gifts with a reindeer sleigh. Now the stories have become very real, only instead of reindeer, gifts are delivered by an unmanned aircraft – a drone. As the representatives of companies explain, the current rapid digital transformation in the world also significantly marks the need for new products and solutions that would allow us to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by technology, including drones and mobile communications. The test, when delivering the first gifts with a drone, outlines what this service might look like in the near future.
“Santa’s helper is a stable, reliable mobile network, but the reindeer assistant is a drone. Its use for parcel delivery is a great example of how technology serves a person which will play an increasingly important role in the future. Therefore, LMT together with international partners is currently actively working to promote safe remote drone control outside the field of vision with the help of a mobile communication network.” says Ingmārs Pūķis, LMT Vice President.
It has already been mentioned that in the future most commercial operations of all unmanned aircraft could take place outside the direct vision of the pilot. Remote drone flights are currently not widespread, as safety regulations require that drones can only be piloted in direct view. However, in certain cases, such as for research purposes, as this time, a high-risk flight permit may be obtained. A mobile network connection improves the safety of such out-of-sight drone flights.
“The delivery of shipments by drone is becoming a very real global trend. Over the past month, we have noticed that this topic is becoming more and more relevant. Meanwhile, supply and mobile market players, both globally and locally, are coming together to implement unmanned aircraft delivery solutions. We are proud of the opportunity to use the drone management software UgCS, which allows us to create a pre-determined route, contribute and participate in the LMT and DPD Latvia initiative, ensuring the delivery of shipments by drone in Latvia.” says Aleksejs Dobrovoļskis, Technical Manager of SPH Engineering.
The involvement of drones as an important modernization solution and assistance in the timely and accurate delivery of items is also valued by delivery providers. This would be especially important if the shipment cannot be delivered otherwise.
“Today we live in a very dynamic age, and one of the keys to success is the ability to adapt. DPD is a company that has always followed innovative trends, and this time is no exception. One of DPD’s priorities is to ensure sustainability in the delivery of shipments. The purchase of electric buses is one of the directions we are already implementing. However, we also see great potential for deliveries by drone – this would not only be an environmentally friendly way of delivery but would also allow faster deliveries,” says Jānis Grants, Chairman of the Board of DPD Latvia.
According to the gift providers, Christmas is a time we mostly spend with our families, appreciating each other with gifts. However, not everyone has this opportunity. Therefore, to please seniors who are absent from relatives and possibly receive gifts less often, the shipments were delivered by drone to the residents of Sigulda Social Care Center “Allaži” and Cēsis City Nursing House, but by DPD Latvia nature-friendly electric transport – also to Valmiera Nursing home residents. Gifts from the LMT e-store – LMT tablets – can be used by any resident of the nursing home to communicate with relatives, follow the latest events in the world, as well as learn new skills online. Useful applications, such as LMT Straume online television, have also been downloaded to the tablets for convenient use. It is important that the cities of Cēsis, Sigulda, and Valmiera are also LMT’s innovation partners.
“The city of Cēsis supports responsible innovation, and this is a great and convenient way we can help the nursing home and its residents – one of the most vulnerable groups in society – to stay in touch with the outside world in these difficult conditions. Man is a social being, so even virtual communication with loved ones is invaluable. Moreover, it is also an opportunity to learn new skills and implement more and more new activities in everyday life. We are grateful to LMT and everyone involved for this opportunity!” says the chairman of Cēsis County Council Jānis Rozenbergs.
To develop drone innovations in Latvia, LMT together with partners from other countries participates in the European drone ecosystem development project COMP4DRONES. LMT is also a member of the global unmanned aircraft traffic management association GUTMA and participates in the development of GSMA drone solutions of the international mobile communications association.
About DPD Latvia
DPD Latvia is a market leader in parcel delivery with more than 22 years of experience. It has been operating in Latvia since 1998. DPD Latvia ensures the delivery of shipments in the Latvian territory, and also operates international shipments. DPD Latvia is part of DPDgroup delivery network operating around the world and owned by GeoPost, a company registered in France. DPDgroup’s turnover in 2019 is almost 8 billion euros. GeoPost is a holding company owned by Le Groupe La Poste.