Drone delivery service being tested by GeoPost, France's postal service
GeoPost, a subsidiary of La Poste, have successfully completed their initial tests for delivering small packages with automated drones.
GeoPost are launching a programme which will enable parcels to be delivered to remote locations by six-propeller drones. GeoPost partnered with UAV specialists Atechsys to carry out an automated test run which saw six motor UAVs take off and deliver a 2kg package and return back over a 1,200 metre distance. Once fully operational, the service will deliver packages weighing up to 4 kg over a range of 20 kilometres, allowing GeoPost to reach rural, mountainous and hard to reach locations that conventional postal vehicles struggle to get to. GeoPost have also noted the potential for delivering "urgent medical needs or blood deliveries."
GeoPost are yet to confirm a launch date for the new delivery service but these successful trial runs suggest it will be sooner rather than later.
Amazon Prime Air and Google X will be watching the progress of GeoPost's delivery programme with interest as they look to provide their own drone delivery services. Amazon Prime Air was launched in 2013 with the aim of delivering small parcels throughout the US. In July 2014 Amazon Prime Air submitted their permission approval to the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to test drones for delivery that could reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. However, the FAA has stalled Amazon's plans, saying that they would not allow model aircraft to be used for deliver packages to people for a fee. Amazon has resultantly set up testing facilities outside of the US, most recently setting up a research and development base in Cambridge, UK; advertising new roles such as 'Flight Operations Engineer'.
It won't be long before drone postal services will be common practice around the globe!