Look up in the sky, it’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a drone delivering the mail!
The Swiss Post has begun testing its aerial parcel delivery service. The unmanned drones are capable of transporting payloads weighing up to 2.2 pounds over a distance of more than six miles on a single battery charge.
Swiss Post executives recently revealed the drones which are white in color and feature four propeller arms attached to a body that’s roughly the size of a toilet seat. In the center is a yellow box bearing the postal service’s logo.
The Swiss Post said the drones follow clearly defined, secure flight paths which are drawn up by cloud software.
Testing is scheduled to run through the end of July although widespread use of drones for parcel delivery is realistically still roughly five years away. That should hopefully provide enough time to work out the regulatory framework and technical restrictions of today’s drones like limited battery life.
The Swiss Post is working with Swiss WorldCargo (the air freight division of Swiss International Air Lines) and Matternet (a logistics drone manufacturer based in California) on the endeavor.
As enticing as it may be, drones won’t be delivering standard mail, at least not initially. The Swiss Post said that from today’s point of view, drones would be best suited for delivering emergency supplies to areas that have been cut off from the outside world following a storm or transporting high-priority cargo like laboratory test results.