Drones Going Postal – A Summary of Postal Service Delivery Drone Trials

Drones Going Postal – A Summary of Postal Service Delivery Drone Trials

27 JUNE, 2016 Postal Delivery Drones With the rapid demise of snail mail and the explosive double digit growth of e-Commerce, postal companies have been forced to seek new ways to expand beyond their traditional letter delivery business models. Given the online consumer’s expectation of fast parcel delivery, it is not surprising that many of these postal service companies are now turning towards delivery drone technology to remain afloat. This article focuses on the recent activities different postal companies from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore and Ukraine have undertaken as they test the feasibility and profitability of unmanned delivery drone services.  Although the general consensus is that it will still take a while for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to become the defacto parcel delivery mode given a variety of existing obstacles (e.g. consumer expectations, end recipient safety, threat of theft, regulatory frameworks, battery life limitation, etc.), the current trend does indeed point to a time where Fido won’t be able to savor the mailman’s leg. The Australia Post parcel delivery drone in action. Photograph by Eddie Jim via the Sydney Morning Herald Australia Post In 2015 Australia Post reported their first full year loss in over 30 years of operation. Their AU$222 million (US$171 million) loss was a dramatic change compared to their AU$116.2 million (US$89.72 million) profit in 2014. What they did see however was that although letter volumes fell by 7.3%, parcel revenue rose by 3.6%. Ever since then, this government owned postal company down under has been quite active in the testing of delivery drone usage “It is not a matter of if, but rather of when” This...
Disruptive and Innovative Parcel Drone Deliveries Down Under

Disruptive and Innovative Parcel Drone Deliveries Down Under

Australia Post is the latest postal service to kick-off its own parcel drone delivery trials Unmanned Cargo Delivery Concept – Chronicle 20 Drone Delivery Down Under  (November 02, 2015) (Editor’s Note: First unmanned mining trucks delivering ore and now UAVs delivering the post, what delivery vehicle will Australia automate next?) Following up on the postal drone delivery trials of SwissPost, Posti and SingPost, Australia Post’s CEO, Ahmed Fahour, confirmed that they are aiming for a 2016 parcel delivery drone trial with a major e-tailer (electronic retailer) who would like to deliver to regional and rural communities in Australia. According to Mr. Fahour, their test drone meets all regulatory flying requirements, has backup engines, and GPS coordination capabilities to deliver packages “right to the customer’s patios”. Each drone would be able to carry a 2 kg (4.4 lb) payload and would cost around AU$10,000 (US$ 7,200). With their potential plans to have 3D printers at their post office locations and the expansion of their parcel pick-up lockers services in addition to the establishment of regular delivery drone services, Australia Post hopes to expand its horizons as a response to the ever growing decline of the letter delivery business which was highlighted by the 207 year old postal delivery service’s first financial loss in 30 years. Personal Take From a personal perspective, one could imagine ordering a product online, having it 3D printed at the local post office and then having it loaded onto a delivery drone for either home or parcel locker delivery. Hopefully, the entrepreneurs selected to participate in the AU$20 million (US$ 14 million) innovation capital fund recently launched by Australia...
Driverless Mining Trucks in the Australian Outback – The Truck of the Future?

Driverless Mining Trucks in the Australian Outback – The Truck of the Future?

Will driverless truck become the norm? Unmanned Cargo Delivery Concept – Chronicle 19 Rio Tinto shifts to driverless trucks in Australia  (October 19, 2015) (Editor’s Note: Rio Tinto’s Komatsu Autonomous Haulage System trucks in action can be found here. A similar video created by Hitachi trucks can be found here.) The Rio Tinto mining company certainly thinks so. Similar in scope (but not necessarily in size) to the Daimler Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz Actros autonomous truck concepts, the British-Australian mining group currently operates a fleet of 69 automated trucks collectively moving approximately 20 million tons of iron ore per month at the Yandicoogina and Nammuldi mine sites in Pilbara, Western Australia. By eliminating breaks, shift changes and absenteeism, their “autonomous fleet outperforms its manned fleet by an average of 12 percent”, states their iron ore chief executive, Andrew Harding. Automatization improves utilization efficiency and thus reduces haulage costs and capital expenditure costs. Industry insiders estimate each autonomous mining truck can save 500 work hours per year. Official Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) / Drone Name: Autonomous Haulage System (AHS), part of the Rio Tinto “Mine of the Future” program launched back in 2008. Operation Specifics: In operation, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Remotely supervised by a control center 1,200 km (750 miles) away in Perth, Australia. The autonomous trucks depend on GPS directions, Lidar and millimeter wave radar to deliver their loads. Future Applications: Autonomous Haulage Systems are here to stay as the world’s biggest miners turn to technology to cut costs and increase profits. These unmanned trucks will be used in cooperation with Rio Tinto’s “AutoHaul”, their fully-autonomous heavy haul, long distance railway...

Pin It on Pinterest