FPS, a U.K.-based supply-chain solution provider, has completed what it believes to be the first U.K. business-to-business delivery made by a drone.
The product delivered was a Gates belt tensioner from the FPS automotive aftermarket product range. The item was delivered from FPS' national distribution center in Sheffield to local customer Brakeline.
FPS partnered with Yorkshire-based Droneflight for the project. A modified DJI S1000 and a DJI Inspire 1 were used to complete and film the delivery. The S1000 was adapted to carry a branded weatherproof box to hold the product. At a speed of up to 30 mph, the aircraft can travel about seven miles on one battery.
The trial was a proof-of-concept project, investigating the feasibility of drones being used to carry out an immediate, local service.
“In the short term, the drone solution is likely to be cost prohibitive, and with current legislation, we are not planning any changes any time soon,” says Neil Davis, managing director of FPS. “In addition, given the varied weight of products in our portfolio, it would only really be viable for lightweight parts traveling to customers in less populated zones. However, this has proven a very useful exercise to form our future vision.”
FPS notes that all activities adhered to the country’s regulations for drone use, including line-of-sight flying and safe distance zones for the staff and public, particularly at takeoff and landing. All drones were operated by qualified pilots with permission from the Civil Aviation Authority for aerial work.
A video of the flight can be found here.