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The Sky’s the Limit: How Drones are Revolutionising Royal Mail’s Delivery Service

“Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society.” – Bill Gates.


When we think of drones, we tend to think of one of two things, the first being an intricate military grade piece of tech used in covert operations across the globe, the latter a more simplistic hobbyist drone that is used for photography or just for fun.


What people may not consider is one of the ingenious uses which has been piloted (pun intended) by one of the biggest companies within the UK. Just last month, following a long developmental stage, Royal Mail employed the use of drone technology in the UK’s first drone delivery service.

Royal Mail Trial Drone via BBC News


The service has begun a brief trial period of three months, and involves the use of drones to deliver mail and packages to Orkney, where traditional transportation methods tend to face delays. The thought behind this stems from the long delivery times which the Orkney islands face, due to their costal locations. From disruptions as a result of the weather, which in turn would pose risk to postal staff ensuring important letters and needed packages arrive on time and in pristine condition.


The use of drones, however, aims to combat these problems, by reducing the risk, and taking on the huge responsibility of collecting parcels from a delivery office in Kirkwall (Orkneys largest settlement) and transporting them to Stromness, Hoy, and Graemsay, where postal staff will collect them and then carry out their typical role within the communities.


Importantly, this breakthrough pilot scheme aims to increase the efficiency of deliveries, without getting rid of postal jobs entirely, instead eliminating the tricky and sometimes dangerous journey between delivery offices and our homes.


The trial period is to run for three months, but already shows many benefits to Royal Mails postal service. As well as improving waiting times, the director of this operation Chris Paxton has commented that using fully electric drone equipment will also aid in the lowering of Royal Mail’s carbon emissions. A benefit not only to communities living in the rural areas, but also to the environment itself.


Outstandingly, the use of these drones is not at the cost of jobs for postal staff, ensuring that their role in the community is still as significant as it ever was. Simply put, these drones are being expertly used as a tool to aid the Royal Mail delivery service, instead of technology that replaces our postal service staff.


Moreover, tackling climate change has very much been regarded as an uphill battle, with many policies being introduced in the UK to tackle it. From Glasgow’s low emission zones being introduced in Glasgow city centre, which aims to significantly lower carbon emissions in the city centre by fining drivers whose vehicles do not meet the new emissions standards. However, the use of these drones may indeed mark a pivotal point in Royal Mail’s mission to be more eco-friendly, reducing emissions which harm the environment.


As Bill Gates aptly put it, drone technology does have the potential to be more impactful on society than we may initially realise. Going far beyond the military and hobbyist impression we may originally think of. The environmental benefits Royal Mail are hoping to see conveys a significant stride towards tackling climate change whilst also aligning with the broader initiatives introduced in the United Kingdom to combat emissions. As we as a society move forward into an era of technological advancement, initiatives like this demonstrate how technology can enhance traditional services while also contributing positively to the environment. Overall, it’s fair to say that Gates’ anticipation of the potential of drones is perhaps quickly becoming a reality before our eyes, one delivery package at a time.



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