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First commercial scheduled flight operations in Germany: “This paves the way for fast and environmentally friendly everyday logistics from the air for the first time.”

Photo: Christoph Reichwein / dpa

You don't get stuck in traffic jams and can deliver up to 80 packages a day: A fully automated drone scheduled flight operation has been launched as a delivery service for companies in Lüdenscheid, North Rhine-Westphalia. The project partners announced at the premiere in Sauerland that it was the first commercial scheduled flight in Germany to use a specially developed transport drone. “This now paves the way for fast and environmentally friendly everyday logistics from the air for the first time,” emphasized the drone manufacturer Third Element Aviation (3EA/Bielefeld), the Lüdenscheid-based Koerschulte Group and the software developer HHLA Sky.

The Auriol drone can initially deliver up to 80 packages a day, despite the traffic jams and chaos. Many more drones are to be built quickly. The routes are to be expanded significantly, with the aim being throughout Germany and Europe.

It was particularly emphasized that each drone does not have to be controlled individually by a pilot. In a control center - a kind of control center - a trained employee can observe ten to twelve drones at the same time and intervene in the event of deviations, described Marius Schröder from the drone developer 3EA during the maiden flight - initially over a distance of a good one kilometer as the crow flies.

With the help of a gripper, Auriol is able to place or pick up packages with centimeter precision. After a test operation of around two and a half years, the Federal Aviation Authority has granted approval for such scheduled logistics flights for the first time in Germany, said the companies that have an eye on the industrial sector.

According to the information, the drone can transport a load weight of around 6.5 kilograms and can fly for up to 45 minutes. Initially, the target speed is a maximum of 65 kilometers per hour and a flight altitude of 40 meters. A parachute was installed for safety. The straight line is always the shortest and the whole thing is particularly efficient. Experts generally see great opportunities and potential applications in Germany for many areas. The association for unmanned aviation, UAV DACH, spoke of an “important milestone”.