• Droning On Limited

Royal Mail plans to use drones to deliver mail to a remote island to reduce carbon emissions.

The trial of scheduled, autonomous flights between Kirkwall and North Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands has begun.

Using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the mail is transported by a large, twin-engined UK-built vehicle named Ultra that is capable of carrying 100kg of the post of all sizes and shapes.

Postal mail and parcels will be delivered by the local postman to the island, which lies farther north than Norway's southernmost point and is inhabited by about 70 people.

Located at Kirkwall Airport, the trial, with Windracers Ltd, is part of the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (Sate) project.

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: "The trialling of drone technologies is just one of the ways we are supporting our postmen and postwomen to deliver an amazing service while reducing our carbon emissions."

Royal Mail will consider the technology if it proves successful for supporting delivery to very remote areas and addresses in the UK.

Royal Mail is taking part in its third drone trial in the last year. Royal Mail delivered a parcel via drone to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull in December 2020. Royal Mail said it was the first time it delivered a parcel via drone within the UK.

View the video of the flight below.

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