PARIS, March 22 — A German start-up has developed a mobile application capable of guiding a delivery drone right up to your window or balcony to deliver food or other small items. However, anyone wanting to use this type of delivery service will first have to wait for it to be authorised under European regulations.

At the Autonomy trade show in Paris, Hansadrone unveiled a prototype drone capable of delivering food directly to your window. The start-up doesn’t build drones, but is on a quest for partners to make its last meter delivery solution a reality. The concept is that the customer can guide the drone to themselves, wherever they happen to be, for instance to their window or balcony, whatever the floor.

In certain countries, drone delivery of items such as food or medical supplies is already a reality. The drones fly to the address specified and then land in an open area such as a garden. But they aren’t capable of dropping something off right on a building. The idea of being able to serve any customer, virtually anywhere, whether at home or at work, is behind the Hansadrone initiative.


This ultra-precise navigation solution would take the form of a dedicated mobile application, to be installed on the customer’s phone. This then would make it possible for any drone to deliver its order to the right floor, facilitated by a smartphone camera pointed at the drone as it arrives. The customer can then guide it as precisely as possible to arrive directly in front of them. The only requirement is that the customer needs to have a clear view in order to be able to see the drone and guide it — and the customer also has to be visible. In this type of delivery, the drone doesn’t actually land. It comes to rest about 50 cm in front of the smartphone at which point the customer can then take their package out of the hatch which opens automatically upon arrival.

While the project is technologically feasible, it faces a major hurdle: legislation. It is currently forbidden for drones to fly within cities. However, the European Union is currently working with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to regulate these types of flights, and Hansadrone is now awaiting their green light before they develop partnerships and roll out their solution across Europe. The drones will also have to be designed to ensure that the privacy of local residents is respected — so they would not be filming while in flight mode.

Generally speaking, the advantages of drone delivery are that it has the potential to be ultra-fast and, above all, capable of reaching places that are inaccessible with other modes of transport. For instance, Hansadrone’s service could be particularly useful for small deliveries of food and drink, medicines or urgent documents usually delivered by courier.


To date, the most advanced solution in terms of drone delivery is the work of Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet, which currently has a fleet of autonomous machines capable of delivering packages to relatively isolated locations in the USA and Australia. UPS has also signed a number of local delivery agreements in the United States. As for the Amazon Prime Air programme, it is currently restricted to a few small US cities, with an initial Europe trial (set for Great Britain) scheduled for the near future. — ETX Studio