The RPAS UPD project aims to utilise RPAS technology to provide a high-performing unmanned delivery solution for customers in remote locations. On track for completion within 36 months, the project incorporates a technical and commercial feasibility study into the use of remotely piloted systems in parcel delivery, culminating in the eventual demonstration and operation of a live UPD service to customers in hard-to-reach locations.
Based on a feasibility study poll, the target market for the RPAS UPD service lies in three main sectors:
It is essential that the service is commercially sustainable, and as such, end-users require an express delivery solution that is:
In order to meet these user requirements, the RPAS craft must be capable of travelling long distances and carrying a considerable payload. Due to these robust requirements, the technical feasibility of the project is just as vital as its commercial longevity.
To enhance the project’s understanding of user needs, three end users from the foreseen target markets are submitting their requirements for a live RPAS UPD service to the project.
Emergency/urgent needs supply to disaster areas – UK, BENELUX, with others considered
Involving an autonomous network of ground and air transportation, the UPD service will operate along static flight routes between fixed arrival and departure locations, a model that can be scaled upwards to meet demand. Operating under a reduced level of autonomy with some human interaction in the early stages, the consortium envisages the service shifting towards greater autonomy when the necessary regulations and infrastructure are in place. Starting with just a few routes in the BENELUX and UK regions, the delivery network will expand in accordance with growing demand for the service and the certification of new delivery routes.
Satellite and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications are indispensable to the success of the project. Enabling data communications far beyond the range of any existing terrestrial mobile network, satellite and BLOS communications will ensure the safety, security and reliability of the UPD service by allowing remotely piloted systems, and other vehicles in the delivery chain, to be connected and located at all times. The range and precision provided by satellite and BLOS communications play a vital role in guaranteeing the safety and autonomy of the UPD service.
Project team successfully completed the feasibility study with a number of notable achievements. This was due to the starting point and task approach adopted by project lead. Starting with analysis and finishing with dissemination of results in the form of presentations to stakeholders: