It is Friday evening, the outside temperature is dropping to zero, it is getting dark – and developers and hackers are starting to gather in Smíchov. And thus begins Rockaway Hackathon 2017, a marathon lasting…
Prague, 22 November 2016: At 11:00 a.m. today, Mall.cz tested package delivery with a drone for the very first time. The delivery route covered a distance of roughly 1.7 km from the Mall.cz distribution point in Jirny to Zeleneč. The airborne delivery took three minutes. The total delivery time including preparation of the drone for take-off was approximately five minutes.
A DJI Matrice 100 quadcopter drone, specially customised for the purpose of the test, was used to make the delivery. Among other things, the drone was equipped with a special device for attaching a box containing the package; upon reaching the customer, the box was released from the drone by means of remote control. “Thanks to this successful test, we are now better prepared for discussions concerning possible changes in legislation. We also perceive it as encouragement to work on other innovations and services in all areas concerning our customers,” says Jakub Havrlant, CEO of Mall Group.
Though the drone used for the test is ready for fully automated operation, its use is limited by the current legislation; discussions regarding the amendment of such legislation are now being initiated. “Drone delivery is in the category of low-altitude operation, and it is a very complex issue. The fact that companies have started testing automated delivery is a welcomed development, as it will bring us valuable information about the operational requirements of drones, as well as direct experience from real-world operation,” says Milan Rollo, Ph.D., a researcher and specialist in drone technologies at the Artificial Intelligence Centre of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Czech Technical University in Prague.
Marek Tajbl of Droneservices, a company that cooperated with Mall.cz on the test, estimates that it may take about five years to amend the legislation. “I am sure that the only question is when the change will come. However, there is no place for too much optimism, as I reckon it may take five years. The prepared common EU legislation does not take this change into account, but we need to bear in mind that the pressure on operational regulators, i.e. the relevant civil aviation authorities, is going to rise. There are two conditions that need to be met to make a substantial change in this matter. The first one is the identification of drones in the common aviation area, and the second one is certification of these devices as far as quality and safety of operation is concerned.”