Drone deliveries - that future is now!

19 November 2022 - Published by Deirdre Buist
Just a few years ago it might have sounded like science fiction, something from a distant future. But drone delvieries are now being considered as a serious option. SURFLOGH is planning a demonstration pilot to test these unmanned aerial vehicles, aiming to show the world that drone delivery is a safe, efficient and sustainable alternative.

Why drones? Although noise is often cited as an issue, drones are in fact quieter than delivery trucks and emit less emissions. Speed is a major driver behind the push for drone delivery as, once launched, there’s no contention with the typical obstacles posed by current infrastructure and congestion. They can be particularly beneficial navigating the last delivery mile, for instance, if time is of the essence.

Testing drone delivery services

SURFLOGH is now investigating the viability of drone deliveries as a green logistics alternative. Partners at the Province of Drenthe have joined forces with the Drone Delivery Services (DDS), a new party and partner in the development of fast, safe, smart and sustainable deliveries! Together, they have developed a pilot demonstration to test the delivery of goods to a parcel locker.

Drones & parcel lockers

During this exciting test, currently planned to take place in March 2023 at the parcel locker at the public transport hub in Borger, a package will be delivered by drone to a locker from De Buren. The economic  feasibility of these parcel lockers in a more rural setting form the crux of another SURFLOGH pilot, introduced at an earlier stage of the project. With this latest trial, the partners offer a view to the future and the potential of drone deliveries in a rural and suburban environment.

Certification & regulation factors

“Although many think it will be the norm in about five years, the future of drone delivery is still uncertain,” says  Egbert Swierts, joint founder and CEO of DDS. “There are still a lot of issues in terms of privacy, security and the impact on wildlife. Certification and regulations will be a key factor moving forward, and these will dictate the type of operations allowed and the conditions required for flight.”

Fast, clean, green

DDS co-founder Frans Hamstra agrees. “All of these factors can have a large impact on drone delivery costs and the guidelines could possibly increase costs. But we envisage a great business potential, whether it be a niche service for items that command a price premium for speed – such as in the healthcare sector - or small goods that can bypass the current infrastructure. A viable future will depend on consumer demand, but it’s hard to ignore the potential of drone delivery. It’s fast, clean and green.”


Frans Hamstra (left) and Egbert Swierts (centre), co-founders  of Drone Delivery Services

Inspiring knowledge exchange

Drenthe was also inspired by partners in Scotland during a visit to their development of a drone delivery hub in Perth West, in collaboration with SESTran. According to SURFLOGH’s manager at the Province of Drenthe Rolf Meerbach, the exchange of knowledge and experience continues on all levels as the green logistics network expands.

We are excited to learn what the future brings and will keep you posted!