Groupauto in drone flight first

Groupauto member Brakeline, a Sheffield based supplier of original equipment and replacement car parts and accessories, has made history by becoming the first UK recipient of a B2B drone delivery.

Supply chain company FPS, an expert in the automotive aftermarket, delivered a Gates belt tensioner from its distribution centre in Sheffield to Brakeline, a few miles away, using a drone from Yorkshire-based specialist Droneflight. The drone, which can fly at speeds of up to 30mph, was modified to carry a branded box containing the item.

The proof of concept flight was used to demonstrate the potential of using drones in markets where time is at a premium. In theory, drones can take the quickest ‘as the crow flies’ route to customers, sailing serenely over congested towns and cities.

‘In an industry where time is critical, if we are able to get to our customers more quickly, in a way that aligns with our business ethos, we will continue to invest in making that a reality,’ said FPS managing director Neil Davis.

Current weight restrictions and legislation around the use of drones mean that regular deliveries of this sort are still some way off. Nevertheless, with companies like Amazon investing in drone technology, it seems only sensible for the time critical automotive aftermarket to be at the forefront of drone delivery development.

‘We’re very pleased that one of our members was the first company in the UK to receive a delivery by drone,’ said Groupauto managing director Jim Mazza.

‘As a company, we’re always interested in seeing how technology can make the movement of parts and products quicker and more efficient. This test demonstrates that drone delivery could have a role to play in that regard in the not-too-distant future.’