Skip to main content

Australia Post is set to test mail delivery by quadcopters

Drone Racing ESPN
It’s not the dog the mailman needs to be wary of any longer — rather, it’s the drone. And not because these quadcopters will attack, but because they might be taking over the mailman’s job. The Australia Post, a delivery service Down Under, is beginning a two-week trial that will employ drones for the purpose of parcel delivery. The test run, set to take place in Melbourne, was announced on Friday, and the Australia Post says that it’s using drones from ARI Labs, a domestic drone applications firm.

“We’re exploring the viability of adding this to our multiple methods of delivery,” said Ahmed Fahour, chief executive at Australia Post. “We’re pretty confident that if we can get through this [trial] we’ll be able to offer this experimental service towards the end of this year.”

Capable of delivering packages that weigh around 2.5 pounds, the drones won’t be making any lengthy journeys in their maiden voyage. The total flight time for these quadcopters will stand at around 15 to 20 minutes, and will be conducted throughout 50 locations two times a week in “an outer metropolitan location,” according to general manager of Australia Post’s e-commerce platforms, Ben Franzi.

Ultimately, the goal of these initial tests is to determine just how reliable drones may be in terms of delivering people’s mail and packages — key to their success will be the amount of distance these unmanned devices can cover, and what sorts of objects they can safely pick up and drop off. If they prove useful, the Australia Post sees a great opportunity to use these drones in delivering packages to individuals in more rural parts of Australia, especially those whose mailboxes may be further from their front door.

But Australia assures its citizens that it’s not rushing into any sort of drone-centric mail plan. “We take safety very seriously,” Fahour said. “We’ll only bring it into play once we are 100 percent sure that it’s safe and reliable.”

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
U.S. Marines are testing single-use delivery drones for dropping off supplies
marine delivery drones test gliderairlaunchedfrom skyvan

Logistic Gliders Inc. Flight Test Highlights as of Jan 2019

Companies like Amazon are still trying to get their delivery drone projects off the ground. However, the U.S. Marines are leading the way with their own delivery drone program -- and, unlike the built-to-last drones being developed by many companies, these ones aren’t designed to hang around for long.

Read more
Delivery drones: NASA to test advanced traffic control system for cities
nasa test drone traffic control system india aviation show

Drones have already been used to deliver pizza, mail, and medical supplies, but for drone delivery to go mainstream, an air traffic management system needs to be put in place to ensure safety in the skies.

NASA, in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has spent the last four years developing such a system for urban areas, which could pave the way for major companies like Amazon to incorporate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into their increasingly ambitious shipping operations.

Read more
Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community
drone delivery service coming to remote canadian community canada

Drone Delivery Canada BVLOS Pilot Program - Moosonee / Moose Factory, ON - October 5 2018

While some drone delivery efforts appear to be little more than a box dangling on the end of a string connected to a store-bought quadcopter, a growing number of companies are getting serious about putting in place full-fledged platforms that include not only specially made flying machines, but also air traffic control systems to ensure safety in the sky.

Read more