Drones are being tested by Australia Post in field trials, demonstrating how they can be used to deliver small packages, clearing the way for test deliveries to customer homes later this year.
The company believes that while the drones will allow customers to receive items they have ordered from the internet much sooner than they currently can, they could also be used for faster transportation of time-critical items like medication.
Australia Post is the first company to trial the new technology for commercial delivery applications and is set to conduct rigorous testing over the coming weeks and months to understand what it can deliver, how far it can travel and how customers will actually receive the parcels.
“This trial is another exciting example of how we’re looking to the future with emerging technologies to make life easier for our customers,” said Australia Post managing director Ahmed Fahour.
“Australia Post has been adapting to changing customer needs and new technological advancements for over 200 years.
“Today’s online shopper expects to receive their purchase whenever and wherever they want.
“Remotely piloted aircraft technology will continue to evolve over the coming years and while we're not sure what role it will play in our future, we do think there are opportunities for time-critical deliveries or where there are significant distances between the road and front door.
“At the heart of our approach to innovation is our passion to help Australian businesses take advantage of the eCommerce boom, while delivering choice and convenience for consumers.”
Australia Post is working closely with local start-up ARI Labs, the developer of the technology, to demonstrate the reliability and applications of the drones, but a trial for customers is expected to follow later this year.
In November, Google said it expected to launch its ‘Project Wing’ service to customers in 2017. Although the technology was already capable of making deliveries, the search giant was waiting on a drone registration system that would make such a service possible. Such a system was later launched in the US at the tail-end of last year.