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Innovation

Australia Post drone trial takes off

Australia Post has begun a closed-field trial to test the viability of delivery by drone.

The carrier has been working with the civil aviation authority, CASA, to test if the new technology could potentially deliver small parcels safely and securely to customers’ homes, allowing for faster transportation of time critical items like medication.

Australia Post MD and group CEO, Ahmed Fahour, said Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), or drone, is just one of many innovations the organisation is exploring on the back of Australia’s e-commerce boom, which has experienced double-digit growth over the past five years.

“We’re excited to be the first major parcels and logistics company in Australia to test RPA technology for commercial delivery applications,” said Fahour. “We will put this innovative technology through its paces over the coming weeks and months to understand what it can deliver, how far it can travel, and ultimately, how our customers could receive a parcel.

“RPA technology will continue to evolve over the coming years and while we’re not sure what role it will play in our future, we do think there are opportunities for time-critical deliveries or where there are significant distances between the road and front door.”

Australia Post is working closely with local start-up ARI Labs, developers of the proprietary technology. The drones can fly short for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or around 15 kilometres and the prototype can carry 1.2kg.

A customer trial in Victoria is expected to follow later this year, pending the results of the closed-field trial and regulatory approval.

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