Skyports and partners to complete first urban e-commerce deliveries by drone in Helsinki

UK-based drone infrastructure firm Skyports was involved in giving consumers living in Vantaa, Finland, the chance to have their parcels delivered by drone in ground-breaking trials.

These e-commerce deliveries were one of the first to take place in an urban environment and in the immediate vicinity of a major international airport.

During the three-day trials involving around 100 drone delivered parcels weighing up to 1.5 kilos, some consumers that normally pick up their online orders in the K-Market supermarkets of Ylästö and Kartanonkoski could see their packages being delivered by drone. Selected customers will
be able to pick up their parcel as soon as it has landed on the dedicated Skyports landing platform – known as a vertiport – positioned in the parking lot of the supermarket.

The parcels being transported take off from a Skyports vertiport located at the Matkahuolto distribution terminal adjacent to Helsinki airport and travel five kilometres to the supermarket where they land autonomously on another Skyports vertiport. Each of the drone flights is fully automated with the flight control center located 14 kilometres away in the center of Helsinki, overseen by a fully qualified commercial drone operator. As part of the project, dedicated Skyports staff are present at both the Matkahuolto terminal and the supermarkets to supervise drone operations and ensure safety.

How customers will collect their drone-delivered parcels

The customer will receive a text message from Matkahuolto detailing when the drone delivery will arrive at K-Market Kartanonkoski or K-Market Ylästö.

As soon as the drone has landed on the Skyports vertiport, the customer can collect their parcel straight away instead of waiting for it to be processed in store.

If the recipient cannot collect their package at the time the drone lands, staff at the pick-up point will accept the delivery for collection by the customer at a convenient time.

The deliveries are taking place in the Aviapolis area of Vantaa. This location is the official market testing area of the Finnish Traffic lab. The market testing area is utilized to test new and innovative mobility solutions of which cargo drone deliveries is one example. Throughout the testing program, the consortium aims to demonstrate that cargo drones can provide a sustainable and more efficient alternative to road transportation, and can be seamlessly and safely integrated into the urban traffic system.

Skyports is currently acquiring rooftop spaces across London and locations in other cities around the world for vertiports in order to enable drone deliveries once they start happening.

Skyports Managing Director Duncan Walker said: “Skyports is excited to be part of the ground breaking Aviapolis project. This project will pave the way for future cargo drone applications within urban environments and highlights how the Finnish Government is leading the way globally in mobility innovation.