DHL begins drone delivery in Germany

Deutsche Post DHL says it is starting Germany's first drone package delivery service, a test program transporting medicine to a pharmacy on a North Sea island.

Daily flights guided by auto-pilot

A drone with a small parcel flies in Bonn Germany, Monday Dec. 9, 2013. Germany's express delivery and mail company Deutsche Post DHL is testing a drone that could be used to deliver urgently needed goods to hard-to-reach places. The small pilotless helicopter was to fly a package of medicine Monday from a pharmacy in the town of Bonn to the company's headquarters on the other side of the Rhine River. The aircraft can carry up to 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds). (AP Photo/dpa,Oliver Berg) (Oliver Berg/Associated Press)

Deutsche Post DHL says it is starting Germany's first drone package delivery service, a test program transporting medicine to a pharmacy on a North Sea island.

The company said the quad-rotor "DHL Paketkopter 2.0" will begin daily flights Friday, bringing a maximum load of 1.2 kilograms  of medicine to the German island of Juist.

The island has about 1,500 inhabitants. It's usually served by one ferry per day and an occasional small-aircraft flight, depending on the weather.

DHL said Wednesday it will monitor each 12-kilometre flight to the island, but the water, snow and dust-resistant drone will fly on autopilot to deliver the medicine — at no extra cost during the test.

The company says it currently has no concrete plans for full-scale regular drone deliveries.