Swiss post testing drone parcel delivery

Switzerland’s postal service started testing drone parcel deliveries, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The testing, done together with Swiss WorldCargo and Matternet, will investigate the technology and determine the cost-effectiveness of such a business idea, although flying postmen are not expected to be widely used for the next five years.

Postal service executives showed off the drones for the first time on Tuesday, The Telegraph says, and said initial tests of the machines' post-delivery abilities would run until the end of July.

The snow-white drones are made of four branches with propellers on the end. The drone’s body is a hollow ring, designed to fit a yellow box bearing the postal service logo.

"The drone has an extremely light construction and is capable of transporting loads of up to one kilogram (2.2 pounds) over more than 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) with a single battery charge," Swiss Post said in a statement.

The drone "flies autonomously, following clearly defined, secure flight paths, which are drawn up by cloud software developed by Matternet (the drone's US manufacturer)", Swiss Post added.

Swiss Post said that the technology, and the practice would be thoroughly tested before being put into any wide-scale use.

“Until the time of their realistic commercial use in around five years, 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.”

“The focus is primarily on their use in exceptional cases or the transport of special items.”