Matternet has partnered with Swiss Post and its parent company Swiss WorldCargo for a drone delivery pilot project. Postal service executives showed off the drones for the first time on Tuesday and said initial tests of the machines’ post-delivery abilities would run until the end of July.
The snow-white drones consist of four branches with propellers on the end extending from a hollow ring the size of a toilet seat. A yellow box, bearing the postal service logo, is lodged in the middle.
“The drone has an extremely light construction and is capable of transporting loads of up to one kilo over more than 10 kilometres with a single battery charge,” Swiss Post said in a statement.
The drone “flies autonomously, following clearly defined, secure flight paths, which are drawn up by cloud software developed by Matternet (the drone’s US manufacturer)”, Swiss Post added.
Swiss Post, which is cooperating on the project with Swiss WorldCargo – the air freight division of Swiss International Air Lines – stressed the drones would be thoroughly tested before being put to wide-scale use.
“Until the time of their realistic commercial use in around five years, there are various requirements which need to be clarified,” the company said.
For now, Swiss Post said it expected to mainly use the drones in emergency situations, which could “involve bringing supplies to an area that has been cut off from the outside world following a storm.”