DHL’s Parcelcopter delivery drone has just completed its first pilot project in Tanzania, according to New Atlas.
The Parcelcopter 4.0 is a tilt-rotor drone that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter. Built by German manufacturer Wingcopter, the company had the idea of having a more energy-efficient fixed-wing flight. The drone can carry up to 13 lb of cargo in an insulated space, and can fly autonomously at a top speed of 93 mph for 62 miles per charge. If the drone is carrying a maximum load, it can go for 28 miles.
Parcelcopter and DHL collaborated in a six-month Deliver Future project and used the drone to deliver medication from a central warehouse in Tanzania to a hospital on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria.
The drone made up to seven autonomous flights each day and on average, covered 37 miles in approximately 40 minutes at 81 mph. Once recharged at the village of Nansio on the island, it would head back with different items, such as blood samples for analysis at Mwanza’s Bugando Medical Center. In comparison, a truck would take six hours to reach the island, while a ferry would take four hours.
In total, the Parcelcopter 4.0 made over 180 take-offs and landings, which was over 1,300 miles in distance and 2,000 minutes of flight time.