What started as a joke earlier in the year looks to be moving into the realm of realism. The French postal service, La Poste, has completed a first, successful round of mail delivery by drone tests. The first tests were run by their subsidiary Geopost and all aspects of delivery including take-off, actual flight, landing and return back to central Geopost location were tested. The tests confirmed that up to 2kg could be carried over a distance of approximately 1.2 kilometers. These test follow successful tests over the last couple years by competitors UPS and DHL as well as, of course, Amazon and Google.
La Poste confirmed that this round of tests was only the start as the objective of the group is eventually to deliver larger sized packages of up to 4kgs in weight, over a distance of 20 kilometers. It is thought that this form of distribution would be particularly useful in rural or mountainous areas that are somewhat complicated and costly for La Poste to service today. In order to make this vision a reality, Geopost has commissioned Atechsys to develop a workable prototype.
Although initial tests were successful, La Poste is clear that the road to commercialized drone delivery will be a long one as the time to develop and successfully test a prototype and the process to put in place regulation around this new form of distribution, will both take quite a bit more time.