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LONDON: Britain’s Royal Mail is to create 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years as part of a partnership with UK logistics drone operator Windracers Group.

Subject to regulatory approval, the company will operate Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Royal Mail to provide initial services to communities across the Isles of Scilly, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Hebrides.

The UAVs will help further reduce Royal Mail’s carbon emissions and replace its reliance on ferries, conventional aircraft and land-based vehicles for deliveries.

Supported by a fleet of 200 drones, the company wants to provide customers with over 50 routes over the next three years as part of a longer-term plan to deploy 500 aircraft throughout the UK.

Last month a three-day trial used a twin-engined UAV with a capacity of 100 kgs to deliver mail between Tingwall Airport in Lerwick and Unst – a 100-mile roundtrip. Unst has a population of around 630 people and is Britain’s most northerly inhabited island.

“The middle mile of supply and logistics, especially to remote locations, has long been overlooked by the industry and is ripe for innovation,” commented Windracers chairman Stephen Wright. “We’ve spent the last five years focused on developing the most commercially viable essential logistics drones so we’re truly delighted to be working with Royal Mail on this ambitious and pioneering deployment of autonomous aircraft. It puts the UK firmly at the forefront of this exciting sector.”
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