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2nd line for parcel delivery by drone in France

DPD France, a subsidiary of DPDgroup, delivers parcels by drone in mid-mountain areas. 



2nd line for parcel delivery by drone in France
2nd line for parcel delivery by drone in France. Image: DPDGroup

DPD France, a subsidiary of DPDgroup, delivers parcels by drone in mid-mountain areas. DPD France has received authorisation for drone parcel delivery on a second regular commercial line in Isère (South-East of France), which links Fontanil-Cornillon to the village of Mont-Saint-Martin in an 8-minute round trip. Delivery by drone will be provided from a mobile terminal installed directly in a delivery vehicle, guaranteeing safe drone take-off and landing.

In December 2016, the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) authorised DPDgroup to offer drone parcel delivery on a regular commercial line in the Var (South of France) between Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte Baume and Pourrières. This first line highlighted the benefits of drone technology for parcel delivery in isolated sites. Thanks to these two years of operations, the parcel subsidiaries of DPDgroup are in a position to roll out solutions for delivery by drone.

For this second commercial line, DPD France is innovating by deploying the solution “Driver’s assistant”: the drone is operated during the usual delivery round from a vehicle specially equipped with a mobile terminal.
This mobile terminal was once again developed in partnership with the French company Atechsys located in the Var, which designed DPDgroup’s first drone.

The mobile terminal lets deploy the drone take-off and landing equipment directly from the delivery van’s side door. During his round, if the driver has parcels for customers in Mont-Saint-Martin, he parks his vehicle in a dedicated parking space at Fontanil-Cornillon in order to safely perform the following manoeuvres:

  • Activate the terminal’s deployment;
  • Scan the parcel;
  • Clip the parcel under the drone;
  • Check to make sure that the area around the van is clear;
  • Request take-off authorisation from the Atechsys operator;
  • Wait for the drone to take off.

During the entire delivery mission, the drone is on fully automatic flight mode, under the remote supervision of an operator certified by the Aviation Safety Agency (DSAC).

When the parcels arrive in Mont-Saint-Martin, they are deposited by drone in a secure, fixed receiving terminal near the town hall, making it possible to receive and store several parcels.
Parcels are deposited in a compartment that protects them from the weather.
A delivery receipt is sent via SMS/email to a town hall employee, who is thus able to receive the parcel in the compartment just like in a mail box, then hand deliver it to the final recipient.
Electrically autonomous with its solar panels and connected via WiFi/GSM, the terminal guarantees safe delivery by avoiding all drone handling.

Once the parcel is delivered, the drone returns to the van and the delivery can continue with his delivery round.

8 minutes by drone as against 30 minutes by car

Usually, the driver must travel 20 km for a round trip lasting some 30 minutes to go to Mont-Saint-Martin. This new drone delivery line means that delivery vans can avoid mountain roads and reduces the parcel delivery route to 3 km for a round-trip flight of 8 minutes.

There are many benefits to drone delivery in the mountains as compared to delivery by van. For the driver, in addition to the time saving, there is reduced road risk on roads that are dangerous and sometimes virtually blocked, especially in winter. For the customer, it guarantees that he will receive his parcel even if the road is impassable due to precipitation. Finally, as the drone is electric-powered, it does not emit any CO2 into this protected natural environment.
The introduction of this service follows a research project backed by ADEME (Agency for the Environment and Energy Management).

Drone technical specifications

  • Operational capabilities:
    Range: up to 15 km, or around 45min (depending on the wind)
    Payload: up to 2 kg
    Empty weight: 4 kg
    Cruise speed: 30 km/h
  • Technical specifications:
    6 electric rotors
    Carbon fibre chassis
    Redundant embedded electronics
  • Navigation system:
    Embedded GPS and real-time trajectory tracking
    Transmission range: up to 30 km
    Ground station for programming and monitoring
  • Safety:
    Autonomous parachute
    Collaborative anti-collision system
    Monitoring cockpit
    Camera with ground transmission and flight recorder
  • Delivery terminal:
    This innovative device secures the drone take-off, landing, loading and unloading stages.
    As a connected object, it provides customer with real-time delivery information.
  • Technical characteristics of the receiving terminal:
    Dimensions: 2.4m high, central diameter 1.2m
    Power supply: 230V / 50Hz
    Energy autonomy: via photovoltaic solar panels
    Connectivity: wifi and 3-4G
    Storage capacity: up to 10 parcels
    Positioning accuracy: incorporated Availability: round-the-clock automatic operation, telemaintenance
    All-weather (IP64 standard)
    Reduced-mobility friendly



Deutsche Post, GMX and WEB.DE launch postal mail notification service




Deutsche Post, GMX and WEB.DE launch postal mail notification service. Image: DHL
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Imagine finding out which letters will be arriving later in the day: A new postal mail notification service in Germany will do just that, with the help of the country’s two most widely used e-mail providers, GMX and WEB.DE, and Deutsche Post.

Registered users can take advantage of the convenient new heads-up service and receive e-mail notification of the physical letters and correspondence en route to their mailboxes. Attached to the notification e-mail is a photo of the envelope. As a result, individuals who use the online e-mail service or WEB.DE and GMX smartphone apps can stay informed at all times of the postal mail they are about to receive.

The service is free of charge and can be activated starting on July 27, 2020, by all 34 million GMX and WEB.DE users via the settings section of their individual e-mail accounts. This means that once launched, the notification service will be available to every second German internet user.

“By introducing this new, globally unique notification service, we are making it possible for our customers to receive their postal mail even more conveniently and flexibly,” said Tobias Meyer, Deutsche Post DHL Group Board Member for Post & Parcel Germany. “Registered GMX and WEB.DE users will now have the option of finding out about the postal mail they are about to receive – whenever and wherever they want – and digitally archiving their offline correspondence. They will also gain more transparency about the delivery quality provided by Deutsche Post.”

Jan Oetjen, Managing Director of the e-mail providers GMX and WEB.DE, added: “Our postal mail notification service will integrate e-mail and postal correspondence into one inbox. This is a ground-breaking step, particularly when you consider just how rapidly the digitalization of communications is expanding. The e-mail inbox has already become the main hub for online communication between companies and customers. Order and delivery confirmations, invoices and contract documents are already being sent here along with private correspondence. In the future, users will be able to clearly organize and archive all relevant information from companies as well as government agencies in one place.”

Simple, two-step registration process

Use of the postal mail notification service will require the express permission of users, a process that can be completed in two easy steps in the settings section of GMX and WEB.DE e-mail accounts. After logging in, users must first click the menu point “Postal mail notification” and then enter their postal address. Deutsche Post will then send a letter containing a confirmation code to this address for verification purposes. In the second step, users can confirm their address and complete the registration process by scanning the QR code in the letter or manually entering a 12-digit confirmation code. The new service is part of the smart mailbox offered by WEB.DE and GMX, and offers a number of automated functions. The next phase of the process will also introduce an appointment reminder function as well as sorting, archiving and response functionalities, while making it easier to quickly locate important e-mails and letters.

Secure data transfer and processing

The photos of postal mail will be taken as part of an automated process at Deutsche Post’s state-of-the-art sorting centers, in full compliance with German data privacy and security standards. The process of photographing the envelopes will cause no delays as the letters will remain in the sorting system before being delivered, as usual, to the recipient’s residential address. The photos of the envelopes will be erased from Deutsche Post’s systems after they are sent to the recipient.

All postal mail notifications will be electronically signed by Deutsche Post. WEB.DE and GMX will then check the signature to ensure that the e-mails were in fact sent by Deutsche Post. Users will be able to clearly identify the postal mail notifications with the help of the superimposed WEB.DE or GMX e-mail seal as well as the Deutsche Post brand logo.

The electronic transmission of data between Deutsche Post and the e-mail inboxes of GMX and WEB.DE users will be protected by end-to-end transport encryption. All data will be collected and processed in secure IT systems and German computing centers. To further enhance security, GMX and WEB.DE users can add two-factor authentication to their account free of charge. The entire data-processing chain will meet the requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation.

Digital copy of postal mail contents to start in 2021

Next year, GMX and WEB.DE users will have the option of receiving digital copies of the contents of their postal mail by secure e-mail. Users will then be able to read incoming letters on their PCs or smartphones before the physical versions are delivered to their home mailboxes. This service will require the participation of the respective sender of the mail and the explicit consent of the user. Following the market launch of this service, the partners will offer an option for secure end-to-end encryption of digital delivery. Users will then be able to add an additional security level to the digital copy of their correspondence by means of the internationally recognized and proven encryption standard PGP. PGP is already optionally available free of charge and can be easily integrated into all WEB.DE and GMX inboxes.

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Volta Trucks and DPD bring full-electric large commercial vehicle parcel deliveries to London’s ultra low emission zone.



Volta Trucks and DPD bring full-electric large commercial vehicle parcel deliveries to London’s ultra low emission zone. Image: Volta Trucks
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Volta Trucks, the Scandinavian start-up full-electric vehicle manufacturer, will soon start a pilot test of its forthcoming Volta Zero with DPD, the UK’s leading parcel delivery service. The Volta Zero will be tested by DPD within London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone in Q1-2021, supporting their micro-depot strategy in Westminster.

Confirming the partnership, Olly Craughan, CSR General Manager of DPD Group UK Ltd, said:

“DPD Group UK Ltd are happy to announce a trial of the Volta Zero 16 tonne purpose built fully electric vehicle planned for 2021.The vehicle is an ideal fit for our Urban Logistics strategy; and the fact that it will be the most sustainable commercial vehicle is a fantastic achievement too, and mirrors our own strategy to be the UK’s leader in sustainable delivery.”

Rob Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of Volta Trucks, added:

“As the world’s first purpose- built full-electric large commercial vehicle, the Volta Zero was specifically designed to deliver parcels and freight in inner city locations where today’s air quality and noise pollution challenges are at their worst. The Volta Zero’s full-electric, zero-emission operation is perfectly suited to DPD’s distribution requirements within London’s strict Ultra Low Emission Zone, delivering parcels to Central London’s customers in a clean and efficient way.”

“The Volta Zero is also much safer for the city’s pedestrians and other road users than other large goods vehicles, thanks to the unique design of the cab that offers the driver significantly enhanced visibility. Its full-electric drivetrain also offers near-silent operation, meaning DPD will be able to utilise the Volta Zero in the centre of London in an efficient 24- hour operation.”

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DPD smashes EV target five months early with over 700 electric vehicles



DPD smashes EV target five months early with over 700 electric vehicles. Image: DPDgroup
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The parcel industry leader, DPD, has smashed its own 2020 target for 10% of its van fleet to be zero emission, electric vehicles, five months ahead of schedule.

As a result, DPD now has the biggest, greenest delivery fleet in the UK. At the start of 2020, DPD had just over 130 EVs on the road and the rapid rise to becoming the most sustainable parcel delivery company in the UK has created enormous benefits already.

So far this year, DPD has delivered close to 5 million emissions free parcels, saving over 2 million kilograms of CO2. The firm estimates that, on its current zero emissions trajectory, it will deliver well over 10 million parcels on its clean, green fleet by the end of 2020.

And it doesn’t stop there. DPD is already working with a series of new and innovative suppliers to help develop the next generation of EVs. Following the launch of the P1 electric assist cargo bike last year, DPD is extending its partnership with Oxford-based manufacturer EAV to create another unique new vehicle. DPD is also involved in trials with LEVC for the new VN5 and the Vauxhall e-Vivaro.

Dwain McDonald, DPD’s CEO commented, “Despite everything that is going on, we’ve been really focused on getting EVs on the road and delivering for us this year. Yes, you need to be trialing new technology and looking at future concepts, but you have to start making a difference now, and that’s what we are doing.

“We originally targeted 500 EVs this year, but with over 700, we have absolutely smashed it. The feedback from the depots, our drivers and our customers has been fantastic and that has just encouraged us to go faster. We know retail customers want this and the reaction on the doorstep is great when recipients see that their parcel has been delivered emission-free too. So, that is a great base for us to build on.

“There are still huge frustrations. We are investing and expanding our operation because of Covid-19 and the enormous demand from online retailers. Parcel volumes are 50% up year on year and we are doing an amazing job. But we would like even more of our new vehicles to be green EVs – we just can’t get our hands on enough of them at the moment. We are calling on the government and the vehicle manufacturers to do everything they can to encourage the development of more EVs, at affordable prices, so that progressive companies, like us, can become even greener, even quicker.”

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