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DHL tests delivery drone

December 9, 2013

Germany's express delivery and mail company Deutsche Post DHL is testing a drone that could be used to deliver urgently needed goods to hard-to-reach places. The aircraft can carry up to 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds).

Deutsche Post drone
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Delivery drone test

On Monday, the small pilotless helicopter flew a package of medicine from a pharmacy in the former West German capital, Bonn, to Deutsche Post DHL headquarters on the other side of the Rhine River. Nicknamed the "Paketkopter," or packet copter, the small robot with four rotor blades has a range of 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) and is allowed to fly no more than 100 meters (330 feet) above the ground.

Company spokesman Thomas Kutsch says that test flights scheduled for this week come as part of a research project to see whether the technology works and that Deutsche Post DHL has no plans yet to start actual drone deliveries. The test flights require permission from local aviation authorities.

The online retailer Amazon has also begun working on a drone despite legal obstacles to such delivery in the United States, its home country.

mkg/mz (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)