Long before Amazon drones begin zipping around American suburbs delivering everyone’s same-day air packages, we might get to watch unmanned aerial vehicles climbing the Swiss Alps to drop emergency medical supplies.
Earlier this week, the Swiss Post and Swiss WorldCargo began jointly testing the practical use of delivery drones in the country’s rugged alpine terrain. While Swiss Post says it’s exploring “diverse applications” of drone delivery technology, a press release highlights a few key areas of focus, including emergency supply deliveries following natural disasters, and rapid transport of high-priority packages such as laboratory tests.
The Swiss have partnered with Matternet, a California-based drone manufacturer, and are currently testing the slick, lightweight Matternet ONE model:
At this point, Swiss Post is saying its drone delivery technology is a good five years out. So, Amazon’s still got some time to woo the FAA into seriously loosening its unmanned aerial vehicle regulations. Or, they could just keep filing ridiculous patents.
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Images via Swiss Post