Swiss Post has started trialing drones for small deliveries

Swiss Post trials drone delivery service

Swiss Post has joint the likes of Amazon and DHL and launched a drone delivery trial saying the technology could in the future be used in remote locations and emergency situations.

The trial is a joint project between Swiss Post, Swiss WorldCargo (the air freight division of Swiss International Air Lines) and Californian drone manufacturer Matternet.

The firm said it may consider a more widespread deployment of the technology within the next five years but that drone deliveries will more likely be used to deliver special items and in exceptional situations.

The Matternet ONE drone that will be used during this trial is designed to transport small deliveries up to 1kg in weight. Its batteries are able to provide enough power to cover 10km in one go.

The drone flies completely autonomously guided by software that enables it to follow a clearly pre-defined route.

The firm said that before the technology could be used on a regular basis, technological obstacles would have to be overcome including better battery life. It also said current regulatory framework provides little guidance for the use of drones.

Swiss Post wants to focus on possible business cases for the technology during the trial and said that the most likely scenario for the future use of the technology is in emergency situations to, for example, bring supplies to areas cut off by a storm or flood.

Another realistic possibility is the urgent transport of consignments with the highest priority, such as laboratory tests. Which specific uses will prevail depends on how quickly the regulatory requirements are clarified and technical obstacles dismantled, the firm said. 

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