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DPD launches drone terminals in France

Unmanned aerial vehicles, drones in short, could be the answer to deliver packages cheaper and faster and could give ecommerce the next boost in growth. However due to rules and legal issues ecommerce delivery companies and online retailers still are on hold on really exploiting this opportunity. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t testing the potential that drones have. DPD for example recently launched special drone terminals in France.


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Drones have a huge potential when it comes to deliver packages in places that are hard to reach with the current vehicles. Such as houses on mountains, islands, places that are isolated by heavy snow or that are hard to reach for some other reason. Therefore drones are the ideal addition to the current vehicle park of delivery companies such as DHL, GLS, TNT, UPS and such. Due to legal rules drones haven’t been able to make a difference in ecommerce deliveries just yet but it all seems to be just a matter of time. DPD for example has already been testing more than a year with drone deliveries and did a test in September last year, where a drone flew 1200 kilometer with a package of 2 kilogram. Since then drones are already twice as strong so the weight of packages is probably soon to be no longer any issue. Drones seem slower than road vehicles, currently with an average speed of about 30 kilometers per hour, but with the amount of package stations that larger delivery companies already have, DPD for example has more than 16,000 pickup parcelshops in Europe, hourly deliveries would probably already be possible if the drone starts to fly as soon as the order is made.

In France DPD launched drone terminals
DPD has been experimenting with special terminals where the drone gets automatically connected with the right package so the entire proces can be done automatic. DPD sees the terminals as the next milestone in package deliveries by drones. Because of the terminals It provides a solution to the standing concern of ensuring the safety of using and maintaining the drones as well the parcel loading/unloading operations by an operator. The flying machines itself are equipped with a GPS system, camera and are able to collect or store data.

The terminals are a cooperation of DPD and Atechsys and the centre for studying and testing autonomous vehicles (CEEMA). Atechsys was founded on the idea that each application will require a specific drone and the company can build the drones itself. CEEMA is a civil drone testing centre in Europe. Founded in 2008, this platform boasts a reserved flight area for testing drones weighing up to 150kg.