Swiss Post is testing the commercial use of drones. Together with Swiss WorldCargo and Matternet, the postal company is investigating specific uses of drone technology and trying to find out what the cost-effectiveness is of these business ideas. For this purpose it will carry out some drone tests this month.
Swiss Post stresses the fact that the widespread use of drones is not expected within the next five year. The focus is rather on their use in exceptional cases or the transport of special items, the company states. The possibilities are very diverse. A drone can be used for delivery to peripheral areas, but also for the express delivery of goods. “Until the time of their realistic commercial use, there are various requirements which need to be clarified. This includes the regulatory framework. In addition, there are technical restrictions with the drones of today, such as limited battery life”, Swiss Post explains.
Logistics drones and their possibilities
With the tests, the three companies want to play a leading role in this development. It’s thinking about how to implement drone usage in their business. For example, they could bring supplies to an area that has been cut off from the outside world following a storm or they could transport 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.”
Swiss Post, Swiss WorldCargo, which is the air freight division of Swiss International Air Lines, and Matternet, an American logistics drone manufacturer, will test with several Matternet ONE vehicles. These are specially designed for transporting small deliveries and are said to be extremely simple to operate. With a single battery charge, the drone can transport loads up to 1 kilogram over more than 10 kilometers.
Back in January, GeoPost, the express subsidiary of LFrench mail service La Poste, announced it is experimenting with drones.