Posti set to start drone delivery tests tomorrow
Posti has announced that it is all set to start its four-day drone delivery experiment this week. As previously reported, Posti has set up the experiment in the island of Suomenlinna (part of Helsinki) and the testing is scheduled to begin tomorrow (2 September).
This will be the first time that drones have been used to deliver parcels in Finland. Posti believes that it might be also be a European first in terms of providing such a test service in an “inhabited urban environment”.
The “robotic helicopter” will be carrying parcels from the mainland to the island of Suomenlinna – which is a journey of about 4km.
“This experiment only includes parcels of suitable dimensions,” added Posti. “All other mail, such as letters and publications, will be delivered by boat as usual.”
The parcels carried by the robotic helicopter, said Posti, will weigh less than 3kg.
Commenting on this week’s tests, Jukka Rosenberg, Senior Vice President, Parcel and Logistics Services at Posti, said: “New technologies make online shopping quicker and easier for both senders and recipients. We want to experiment with different delivery options which are feasible in Finland and increase the customers’ freedom of choice.”
Posti’s partners in the robotic helicopter experiment include Sharper Shape Ltd, which is responsible for the technology and operation of the drone, and online retailer Verkkokauppa.com. The experiment has been authorized by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) operating under the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Posti’s experiment will be carried out as a non-line-of-sight operation in a populated urban environment, which puts high demands on the equipment and control system used.
“We plan the flights as meticulously as manned flights. Safety is our highest priority. Finland is a leading country in this field, and cooperation between the authorities and companies is smooth,” said Tero Heinonen, the CEO of Sharper Shape.
Esa Hjerppe, Web Sales and Marketing Director at Verkkokauppa.com, commented: “As an innovative company, we absolutely want to be involved in this interesting experiment and gain experience in new ways to deliver parcels to our customers. Furthermore, it is great that our customers have the opportunity to try out new technologies with us. Delivery speed is an important competitive factor, even in hard-to-reach areas.”
Verkkokauppa.com is Finland’s most popular webstore. During the experiment, said Posti, selected parcels “of a suitable weight and type” will be depart by drone from the observation deck of the Verkkokauppa.com store at Jätkäsaari, Helsinki, three times a day, to be delivered to its customers at Suomenlinna.
If the drone cannot fly because of bad weather, the parcels will be delivered onboard the Suomenlinna ferry as usual.