Swiss Post to end interest in drone deliveries

Lack of profitability over a five year trial of drone deliveries has led Swiss Post to hand over its hospital drone deliveries to Matternet.

Swiss Post and drone manufacturers Matternet have operated drone deliveries between hospital campuses in Switzerland since 2017. As well as profitability, the postal operator has hit regulatory headwinds that have prevented it from trialling drone use outside of hospital deliveries.

The ‘Swiss Post of tomorrow’ strategy has led the postal operator to focus on logistics services as part of its core business. With the two constraints – profitability in its current use and inability to widen the scope of its operations – Swiss Post has chosen to hand the business entirely to Matternet.

The three existing customers of the drone delivery business − the University Hospital Zurich, the University of Zurich and the Ticino EOC hospital group − will have the option of continuing using the service after the transfer of ownership.

Swiss Post’s trials have attracted a lot of international interest, and it essentially admitting defeat is interesting too. Safety is a core concern of drone deliveries, and while not over urban areas, the drones have had crashes that led to suspension of the services while inquiries took place as to their cause. Ultimately the bottom line is of concern to all businesses – no matter how sexy or useful a service is, it should be profitable or it ceases to be attractive.

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