Royal Mail has become the first UK parcel carrier to use drones (specifically unmanned aerial vehicles) to transport parcels to its recipients. 

It has joined forces with a consortium of established UK drone companies including DronePrep, Skyports and fast-growing tech firm what3words to arrange an initial drone delivery to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull this month.

Next year the consortium will undertake a consultation with islanders on the use of drones to deliver to rural communities on the Isle of Mull – the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides.

It will focus on engaging with the community to explore the viability of using drones in the area, where Skyports is already using its drones to help NHS Scotland with the response to COVID-19.

To enable this for the trial, Royal Mail is asking recipients to provide the what3words address, a 3 metre by 3 metre square, that corresponds to the precise landing point for delivery of Royal Mail parcels via the drone from the Royal Mail van.

Tom Nunn, local postman for Isle of Mull, welcomed the new tech, saying some of the houses on the Isle of Mull include a thirty-minute walk to the front door. 

“I am very pleased to be involved in this fantastic trial. It is an exciting opportunity to test out new ways of working to support us posties that deliver in some of the most remote areas of the UK,” he said. 

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, added: “We’ve seen a huge increase in parcel volumes this year and this is just one of the ways we are looking at to support our frontline delivery staff and deliver fast, convenient and green services for all of our customers.”

Gareth Whatmore, CEO of DronePrep & Consortia Lead, said: “We are both delighted and proud to lead on this innovative collaborative project and for the DronePrep platform to help in determining future UAV flight and delivery opportunity for Royal Mail and the local community.”