Drone delivery operations underway in 27 countries

Drone postal and goods delivery programmes are underway in 17 countries around the world while 13 countries are pioneering medical/pharmaceutical drone transport services. Altogether, 26 nations of the world are trialling, planning to test or have established drone delivery operations underway.

These are the first results of a survey into the drone delivery market carried out by www.unmannedairspace.info and www.urbanairmobilitynews.com at the start of April 2019.

While the countries of sub-Saharan Africa have become pioneering nations in the development of beyond visual-line-of sight (BVLOS) medical deliveries by drone, Switzerland, Finland, Iceland, China, Australia, Singapore and the USA are leading the way in developing more commercial drone delivery operations.

These pioneers will soon be caught and overtaken by a likely second wave of adopters which include Germany, Dubai and Canada – especially Canada, where Drone Delivery Canada has developed a C$2.5 million-a-year business supplying one rural community with goods by drone and is now planning to expand this business to 200 more remote communities over the next few years.

The table below highlights the major delivery-by-drone programmes.  While many of these are trials the number of established commercial businesses is growing, to include Project Wing deliveries in Australia (and Finland, shortly), Drone Delivery Canada supply routes to Moose Creek First Nation and Aha deliveries to inhabitants of Reykjavik.  Zipline has established medical delivery operations in Rwanda and by the start of April 2019 had made over 12,300 flights.

While it is still too early to make accurate generalisations about the public’s view of these operations it appears that while drone delivery services in Iceland have generally been welcomed (https://www.unmannedairspace.info/utm-industry-leader-interview/flight-drone-least-risky-part-process-maron-kristofersson-aha/) many residents in suburban Canberra (https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/express-delivery/residents-reportedly-unhappy-with-project-wing-canberra-drone-delivery-trials/) appear less happy with the concept.

Postal and goods deliveries

Country Operator/project leader Type of operation For more information
Australia Project Wing October 2017, first trials of goods deliveries by drone to rural Australian customers. Operations later extended to suburban Canberra. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/alphabet-project-x-delivers-food-pharmaceuticals-australia/
Canada Drone Delivery Canada August 2018, Transport Canada approves testing of X1400 cargo delivery drone. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/regulator-approves-drone-delivery-canada-trial-flights-urban-delivery-system/
China Ele.me May 2018, Ele.me starts food delivery by drone in Shanghai. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/ele-starts-food-delivery-drone-shanghai/
China JD.com 2015 – rural drone deliveries start. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/latest-news-and-information/rakuten-and-jd-link-to-provide-unmanned-air-and-ground-delivery-services-in-japan/
China SF Express March 2018 – SF Express secured China’s first provisional drone operating licence to begin deliveries of food within the country’s pilot zones approved by the CAAC.


Dubai Costa Coffee September 2017 – First trials of a coffee drone delivery system https://www.arabianbusiness.com/industries/technology/379426-costa-coffee-tests-drone-delivery-service-in-dubai
Estonia SESAR GOF programme Parcels deliveries between Helsinki and Tallin planned as part of the SESAR network of demonstrator programmes. https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/express-delivery/imminent-gulf-of-finland-sesar-project-to-trial-parcel-deliveries-by-drone/
Finland SESAR GOF programme Parcels deliveries between Helsinki and Tallin planned as part of the SESAR network of demonstrator programmes. https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/express-delivery/imminent-gulf-of-finland-sesar-project-to-trial-parcel-deliveries-by-drone/
Finland Skyports and partners March 2019 – K-Maret deliveries to customers in Vantaa https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/express-delivery/drone-delivery-trials-start-in-finland-with-skyports-and-partners/
France DPD In January 2018 trials of drone deliveries were announced for launch between Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume and Pourrières. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/special-report-delivery-drone-six-drone-delivery-programmes-started-europe/
Germany Emqopter February 2019  – Trials began delivering pizza and industrial parts by drones Wurzburg (Germany)-based drone-technology company Emqopter.


Iceland Aha and Flytrex Commercial drone delivery flights began in Reykjavik from 2018, by operator Aha and Flytrex. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/utm-industry-leader-interview/flight-drone-least-risky-part-process-maron-kristofersson-aha/
Ireland An Post and SkyTango In July 2018  – An Post starts trials of off-shore drone delivery flights.


Indonesia JD.Com Drone delivery trials began with JD.com. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/chinese-retailer-jd-com-starts-first-drone-delivery-flights-indonesia/
Japan Rakuten January 2019 – Drone delivery packages in rural Japan. (https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncat).egorized/rakuten-start-drone-package-deliveries-rural-japan-april-news-report).
Singapore Airbus Skyways February 2018 – Airbus Skyways Singapore parcel delivery drone makes first flight.


Singapore Airbus and Wilhelmsen March 2019 – the two companies start shore-to-ship drone deliveries https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/express-delivery/airbus-wilmhelmsen-start-shore-to-ship-drone-deliveries-in-singapore/
South Korea Korea Post Remote mail deliveries to start in 2021. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/korea-post-develops-utm-system-will-start-remote-mail-drone-deliveries-2021/
Switzerland Mercedes Zurich Matternet and siroop September 2018 –Mercedes Zurich drone delivery programme starts.


UK Vodafone Strat of 4G mobile phone delivery trials in Scottish islands. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/vodafone-makes-uks-first-4g-mobile-network-drone-delivery/
USA Flirtey March 2019 – BVLOS drone delivery flight trials start in Reno. https://www.urbanairmobilitynews.com/express-delivery/flirtey-to-conduct-bvlos-drone-delivery-flights-in-reno/
USA Project Wing August 2018 – in Virginia, Project Wing starts BVLOS urban area drone delivery trials,


USA Flytrex October 2018 – drone deliveries to King’s Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks, North Dakota https://www.flytrex.com/projects/north-dakota/
USA FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP) project. Herndon, VA – the programme will facilitate package delivery in rural and urban settings. https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/integration_pilot_program/lead_participants/
USA FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP) project. Loveland, OH – Workhorse Group Inc’s HorseFly truck-launched Autonomous Drone Package Delivery System is now making package deliveries to homes in the Cincinnati area https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/integration_pilot_program/lead_participants/
USA FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP) project. for Holly Springs, North Carolina – goods deliveries to resident backyards https://content.dji.com/drones-for-good-drone-delivery/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=D4G-delivery
USA FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP) project. Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, Memphis, TN: inspection of FedEx aircraft and package delivery. https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/integration_pilot_program/lead_participants/

Medical deliveries

Country Operator/project leader Type of operation For more information
Belgium Partners are Skeyes, SABCA, Unifly, NSX and Helicus. October 2018 – Medrona research  initiative will deliver medical supplies by drones around Antwerp


https://www.unmannedairspace.info/urban-air-mobility/helicus-aero-initiative-will-deliver-medical-supplies-drones-around-antwerp/ and  and https://www.sesarju.eu/projects/safir
Belgium Ghent University i-Know, Skeyes, Unifly, Euka, TomorrowLab, Drone Think Do, European Aviation Safety Agency, BRC Belgian Resuscitation Council, Ghent Fire Zone Central HQ. Ghent is examining the setting up of a prototype ambulance drone application, https://eu-smartcities.eu/
Denmark SDU UAS Centre January 2019 – Blood samples and medical equipment will soon be flown by drones between Odense, Svendborg and Ærø. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/denmark-trial-inter-hospital-drone-deliveries/
Ethiopia Ministry of Science and Technology October 2018 – launch of a drone-based medical equipment and supply network to remote areas of the country. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/ethiopia-launches-drone-based-medical-supply-service-remote-communities/
France Toulouse – Metropole Emergency and rapid response services (health, medical, security) are part of the city’s UAM programme. https://eu-smartcities.eu/
Ghana Zipline In January 2019 Zipline started work on two distribution centres. In the first half of 2019 the company will begin providing most of the country with access to all medical products, with four distribution centres spanning from the dense southern regions surrounding Ghana’s capital, Accra, to the remote and arid north of the country. https://flyzipline.com/impact/
Germany Airbus and EIP-SCC Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalia part of the UAM medical delivery programme


Germany EIP-SCC Ingolstadt is part of the European Union’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) initiative and has launched air taxi and organ transport pilot programmes. https://eu-smartcities.eu/
India World Economic Forum Janaury 2019 – will start testing the policy frameworks developed in the newly released Advanced Drone Operators Toolkit to enable state-wide drone delivery operations. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/andhra-pradesh-pioneer-advanced-drone-operators-toolkit-world-economic-forum/
Malawi UNICEF, Virginia Tech, Malawi University, Unifly May 2018 – drones transported blood samples from the local community to the nearby medical centre. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/unifly-sets-utm-system-malawi-support-unicef-drone-operations/
Netherlands Airbus and EIP-SCC Twente part of the UAM medical delivery programme


Rwanda Zipline October 2016, Zipline and the government of Rwanda launched the world’s first national drone delivery service to make on-demand emergency blood deliveries to transfusion clinics across the country. https://flyzipline.com/
Switzerland Swiss Post December 2018 – Transport laboratory samples by drone on behalf of Swiss Post from University Hospital Zurich (USZ) to the Irchel campus at the University of Zurich (UZH) begin. ttps://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/swiss-post-start-bvlos-inter-hospital-drone-delivery-flights-10-december/
Switzerland Swiss Post, Matternet June 2018 – first trials runs of medical transport link between the Tiefenau hospital and University Hospital Insel. https://www.post.ch/en/about-us/company/media/press-releases/2018/swiss-post-begins-transporting-laboratory-samples-for-insel-gruppe
Tanzania DHL In October 2018 parcels delivery company DHL successfully completed trials of a drone-based medicine delivery service to customers on an island in Lake Victoria. https://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/dhl-trials-bvlos-medicine-delivery-flights-across-lake-victoria-tanzania/
Tanzania Zipline In August 2017 the government of Tanzania announced it was launching the world’s largest drone delivery service to provide medicines to remote communities. https://flyzipline.com/
Thailand Fling February 2019 – Trial medical deliveries https://fling.asia/
USA FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP) project. Reno, NV – time-sensitive delivery of life-saving medical equipment, such as medical defibrillators in emergency situations in both urban and rural environments. https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/integration_pilot_program/lead_participants/
USA FAA, UPS and Matternet North Carolina–based WakeMed’s hospital in Raleigh, delivering essential medical supplies https://www.wired.com/story/ups-matternet-drone-delivery-north-carolina/
Vanuatu UNICEF, Swoop and Wingcopter In October 2018 Vanuatu Government commercial contracts to trial the use of drones to bring lifesaving vaccines to children living in remote rural islands. ttps://www.unmannedairspace.info/uncategorized/vanuatu-government-trial-drone-deliveries-medical-supplies-remote-islands/





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