Royal Mail has kickstarted a trial using drones to deliver personal protective equipment, Covid-19 testing kits and other mail to the Isles of Scilly.
The project, which is backed by UK Research and Innovation and several other partners, is designed to investigate how the new technology can help Royal Mail cut emissions related to its operations.
Parcels will be flown to the islands’ airport in St. Mary’s by an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV), which can carry up to 100 kilograms worth of mail at a time.
A smaller drone will then be used to transport items to a number of delivery points throughout the islands.
The company said it is the first time out-of-sight, autonomous scheduled drone flights have been used between the UK mainland and an island.
Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “We’ve seen a huge increase in parcel volumes since the start of the pandemic and this is just one of the ways we are looking to support our postmen and postwomen in delivering fast and convenient services for all of our customers while reducing our carbon emissions.”