Australia Post to begin trialling delivery drones

It has been announced that Australia Post is to start a major trial of using drones to deliver parcels to customers. Singapore Post did a small scale trial recently, and this has caused a major buzz in the industry, though surveys of customers routinely show a wariness to the idea.

The new, AUD $10,000 drones will be able to deliver parcels of up to 2kg at a range of 12.5km. The trial begins in summer 2016 – in January or February – with a major online e-commerce client that wishes to reduce the costs of delivering to rural or semi rural clients. With some Australian communities being hundreds of kilometres from major urban centres it is not known how ‘rural’ this project is intended to reach given the range of the delivery devices. It is known that Australia Post is already looking into new drone systems that can deliver items of up to 10kg.

Ahmed Fahour, Chief Executive of Australia Post said of the delivery system, “It meets all of the flying requirements, has backup engines, GPS co-ordinates, so we can put it right on their patio.”

Though many postal and parcel delivery operators have shown great interest in a drone delivery system to reduce cost and human error in the final mile delivery phase, surveys of customers around the world routinely show a wariness at the prospect of flying robots delivering their goods to them. As Apex Insight reported yesterday, one such survey suggested that only 10% of US e-commerce customers felt comfortable with goods being delivered in this way. Whether it is nervousness at security or just the lack of humanity in the delivery process, it will be interesting to see how e-commerce customers respond to the option of drone delivery. It is all well having a new toy but will people use it?