Everything indicates that drones will play an important role for parcel services. This has been revealed by the agreement reached between Telefónica and Correos. Thanks to it, we were able to see one of the most interesting use cases of 5G technology.
In this pilot test, several of these aircraft were assigned the task of delivering a package to a mobile collection point. The devices, which were connected both to each other and to various urban elements, had to face certain difficulties to prove their effectiveness. Specifically, running into another drone and avoiding a restricted area.
The use case was presented on February 28 in the presentation “Drones 5G. Present and Future “. In fact, this was one of the Mobile World Congress 2023 events that generated the most expectation. This project is part of the Telefónica 5G Madrid proposal (framed in a program developed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation).
Current state of technology
To carry out the use case, the use of an air control platform was decisive. Its mission was to geolocate in real time not only these gadgets but also the connected beacons, showing information on all of them and the messages that were exchanged.
The technologies behind the use of drones in parcels
- C-V2X (the same as connected cars): allows the drone to interact with its environment to adapt to it intelligently.
- RTK (Real Time Kinematic): provides precise locations, so that the drone can land on mobile mailboxes.
- 5G connectivity: its high bandwidth and low latency allow drones to be able to communicate in real time and cooperate with each other or with other connected objects.
Collaborating technology companies
- Gradiant: developer of the intelligent cooperative communication system (based on 5G and C-V2X).
- Ericsson: analyst of the future advances that 5G will bring.
- Genasys: the provider of LBS services and critical emergency communications was in charge of obtaining the location currently offered by the mobile network in commercial mode.
Telefónica‘s has been the first use case developed in Spain that has demonstrated the effectiveness of these aircraft for messaging purposes. With it, Correos has established itself as a pioneer company in taking advantage of the latest technological innovations to provide new services and reach areas that are difficult to access.
Another interesting test that has been carried out in this sense has been carried out by Enaire, Aslogic and Indra last March as part of the European Corus-Xuam project. In it, these devices made around 200 test flights in the airspace of the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airport.
Internationally, many companies are showing interest in the use of these devices for parcel delivery. Such is the case of: UPS, Amazon, Swiss Post, DHL, Zipline, Uber Eats or FedEx Express.
Everything indicates that the future of logistics is closely linked to these aircraft. In addition, recent technological innovations developed for these gadgets allow solving security problems. Nor can we forget the regulatory framework already provided by the U-space Regulation (regulations in force since January 2023).
The advantages and possibilities represented by the introduction of these devices in the messaging sector are more than evident. Think, for example, of reducing pollution and road traffic, access to remote areas or speeding up deliveries.
Definitely, the latest technological advances experienced by drones confirm their promising future for parcel delivery. We are getting closer and closer to this use case being generalized in our day to day.