2 German towns trial drone-delivered grocery services

2 German towns trial drone-delivered grocery services

The German Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport is backing a drone-delivered grocery pilot project to bring food shopping to rural residents.

Brandenburg and Hesse to pilot drone-delivered groceries

The German government is to trial a food shopping delivery service which uses drones to reach people living in rural parts of the country.

The pilot service, which has recently launched in Hesse and will launch in Brandenburg in the spring of 2024, will work with companies in German cities and regional retailers before delivering people their purchases via both air and land.

The project set to launch in Wusterhausen, Brandenburg, is in its earlier stages, assessing if drone grocery delivery is even efficient enough to be worth investing more in. But the “DroLEx” project in Michelstadt, Hesse, is already trialling a drone-bike delivery combination as an alternative for customers who may otherwise have to drive kilometres to reach their nearest supermarket.

The project is organised in tandem with the University of Frankfurt and aims to "improve local supplies overall through the quick and reliable delivery of everyday goods to rural areas". Anyone who lives in the Michelstadt or Wusterhausen can sign up to take part in the pilots.

Germany’s rural inhabitants are losing access to services

The past 30 years have seen the number of local shops in Germany decline from around 66.500 to just 8.400. While these shops were replaced with larger supermarkets, their location in business parks or other out-of-town rural areas means that they are rarely easily accessible without driving.

And although public transport is often well-connected in German cities, the same cannot be said for its countryside, meaning access to amenities is becoming increasingly unaffordable and impractical.

For trade expert Gerrit Heinemann of the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, the drone delivery services aren’t just reinventing the wheel, but plating it with gold at a time when many can’t even afford wood.

“Anything that makes food more expensive in Germany than the food that is at the discount supermarkets is, in my view, not feasible, at least at the moment, because Germans buy price-oriented and don't see the point of paying even one cent more," Heinemann told the dpa.

Thumb image credit: Alexandra Lande /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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