Singapore Post (SingPost), the country’s national postage and logistics company, today announced it has completed a package drone delivery trial in a remote part of Singapore – between Lorong Halus and Pulau Ubin. The trial was developed together with the Infocomm Development Agency, and uses a customized version of the commercially-available Pixhawk Steadidrone.
SingPost claims this is the first time in the world a postage service has used a drone for “point-to-point, recipient-authenticated” mail delivery. The company hopes to use drones to deliver packages for ecommerce companies.
The test flight took five minutes, and saw the drone carrying a letter and a T-shirt for 2.3 kilometers. The drone landed at a stipulated point, after which a postman retrieved the goods.
The trial involved the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Committee of the Singapore government, which is run by multiple agencies. Yes, the government has such a committee.
To underscore how much government involvement is needed in this, the trial required permissions and corporation from six organizations, including the air force and police.
A SingPost spokesman emphasized that drone delivery is far from mass deployment. It’ll still need to work out technical viability, as well as regulatory and safety protocols. “At present, the economics and infrastructure for drone delivery is not yet ready,” he says, adding that no accurate timeline is available.