Royal Mail PLC (LSE:RMG) said if a trial in the Orkney Islands is successful it will consider rolling out low-emission aerial drones for all its most remote deliveries in the UK.
Flight trials have begun on the islands, using a large, twin-engine, unmanned aerial vehicle named ULTRA, designed, built and operated by Windracers Ltd.
The drone has been designed to carry mail from Kirkwall airport on the Orkney mainland to the far-flung island community of North Ronaldsay, a 35-mile flight each way.
Royal Mail said the service is expected to be less affected by poor weather, including fog, and unlike boat services are not affected by tides, with an added benefit of also reducing emissions.
“This could make them well suited to help Royal Mail better service remote island communities and provide deliveries in all weathers while also helping to protect some of our most beautiful environments,” said Royal Mail.
The company has also trialled two other drone services during the past year, using a drone to deliver to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull and another to make inter-island deliveries on the Isles of Scilly.