Look to the skies for parcel post

La Poste hopes to take parcel delivery to new heights after successful drone test in the Var

24 December 2014

YOUR post could one day literally drop from the sky after La Poste successfully tested a drone delivery in the south of France.

A remote-controlled six-engined aerial drone carried a 2kg parcel a distance of 1,200m at the Centre d’Etudes et d’Essais pour Modèles Autonomes in the Var as part of a project known as “Geodrone”.

Experts at the headquarters of Atechsys, in Issy-les-Moulineaux, the company working on the project for La Poste’s international parcel-carrying subsidiary Geopost Express, have expressed delighted with the success of the test.

"The take-off phases of flight, landing and return were all automated... This test validates the approach and opens new perspectives that we could develop in the future,” the company said.

Engineers at the company are now hoping to develop a device capable of delivering 4kg parcels a distance of 20km regardless of terrain. They say the drones could be used to quickly deliver medicines to hospitals, or get to hard-to-reach locations to make emergency deliveries.

Amazon, Google and DHL have already carried out successful tests on aerial drones - but current legislation in France means that it’s likely to be some time before drones delivering parcels are a common sight in the skies of France.

The commercial use of drones in France, and in many other parts of the world, is banned, amid concerns over air safety and privacy.

Earlier this year, a teenager who filmed an aerial view of the centre of Nancy using a remote-controlled drone was charged with “endangering lives” by flying the drone in a populated area without a licence.

Photo: Philippe Cassan

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