news Australia Post has announced the it will be the “first major parcels and logistics company” in Australia to trial package delivery by remotely piloted aircraft, also called drones.
The post service said using drones would provide customers with more choice over how and when they receive their deliveries.
Australia Post said it is working with local start-up ARI Labs, developers of proprietary drone technology, to demonstrate the reliability and applications of the technology.
The closed-field trial is planned to reveal whether the new technology can potentially deliver small parcels safely and securely to customers’ homes. The service could also prove valuable in providing faster transportation of time-critical items such as medication.
A customer trial is expected to follow later this year.
Ahmed Fahour, Australia Post’s Managing Director and Group CEO said the trial is one of a number of innovations the organisation is exploring following double-digit growth in e-commerce and online shopping over the past five years.
“Australia Post has been adapting to changing customer needs and new technological advancements for over 200 years. This trial is another exciting example of how we’re looking to the future with emerging technologies to make life easier for our customers,” Fahour said.
“Today’s online shopper expects to receive their purchase whenever and wherever they want. RPAs may be another way to help make our customers’ lives easier and builds on our existing 24/7 Parcel Lockers and MyPost service,” he said.
Fahour explained that Australia Post will put the new technology through its paces over coming months to determine “what it can deliver, how far it can travel, and ultimately, how our customers could receive a parcel”.
While drone technology will continue to evolve over the coming years and its future role at Australia Post is unclear, the company suggested there may be opportunities for time-critical deliveries or where there are significant distances between the road and front door.
The drone trial builds on Australia Post’s recently announced $20 million innovation fund where the organisation will directly invest in e-commerce businesses with concepts that could improve the lives of its customers.