Australia Post testing drones

Australia Post is the latest mail operator to test delivery drones with a ‘closed field trial’ of a system.

In a statement issued yesterday (15 April), Australia Post said: “This closed-field trial is an important next step in testing the new technology which will potentially deliver small parcels safely and securely to customers’ homes, allowing for faster transportation of time critical items like medication.”

Australia Post Managing Director and Group CEO Ahmed Fahour said: “We’re excited to be the first major parcels and logistics company in Australia to test Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) technology for commercial delivery applications. We will put this innovative technology through its paces over the coming weeks and months to understand what it can deliver, how far it can travel, and ultimately, how our customers could receive a parcel.

“RPA 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.”

According to local sources, Australia Post has launched its drone trials at Dandenong South in Melbourne’s south-east.

Where drone delivery could be useful in large rural areas such as Australia’s Outback it remains to be seen whether the UAV systems would work in densely packed urban areas. They have been tested and proven for shore to ship delivery of urgent goods and with getting medicines to rural locations in Africa however. They are prone to problems with the weather – a week of October gales in the UK could ground a fleet until they have passed for example and that would not be a very good investment in meteorologically volatile regions such as northern Europe! In tropical areas it may well work better and more reliably.