Swiss Post to test drones for mail delivery

If the idea of having Amazon deliver orders via drone sounds good, then why not just have all postal delivery handled by the UAVs? That's what the smart people at Swiss Post must have thought, since they're going to start tests this month with the "commercial use of logistics drones." While it will certainly be at least a few years before all mail in Switzerland is delivered by drones, these tests aim to start with small packages.

California drone company Matternet was the first to announce the Swiss Post project back in April, as they have partnered with the postal service to supply their drones. Matternet has designed a model called "ONE" for use by Swiss Post, with a capability of carrying up to 2.2 pounds for a distance of more than 10 miles, all on a single charge. As the quadcopter will be delivering parcels to specific addresses, it is also designed to follow a pre-programmed flight path.

What's interesting is that Swiss Post will be conducting their tests on more important scenarios than just delivering products bought online. They imagine the use of drone delivery being especially useful in situations where supplies or medicine is needed in areas hit by storms, or when samples need to be quickly delivered to labs for testing. This is exactly what Matternet did in Haiti, using drones carry medicine.

Swiss Post says that if this pilot program is successful they will continue with further tests, however they believe it will be at least five years or so before package delivery via drone becomes the standard. Plus, Switzerland has yet to classify what is legal when it comes to drone regulation, so their use in the postal system will also depend on what becomes accepted.

SOURCE Swiss Post