Tech by VICE

France Becomes First Federal Postal Service to Use Drones to Deliver Mail

The experimental program will cover a nine mile route.

by Madison Margolin
Dec 20 2016, 4:23pm

Image: kimhyeri/Pixabay

Who needs mailmen when you've got drones? That's what France thinks, anyway.

The French postal service is beginning an experimental drone delivery program to deliver parcels on a nine mile route once a week. After the program gets approval from the French aviation regulatory authority, the federal postal service will be the first to ever use drone delivery on a regular route.

The drones used in the French postal service experiment have the capacity to fly up to 12 miles carrying about two pounds maximum, going around 19 miles per hour. They are also equipped with parachutes for safe emergency landing in case something disrupts the flight. The eventual goal is to reach rural or mountainous regions that are otherwise difficult and expensive to get to using cars.

The drone mail delivery program has been a project of the DPDgroup, Europe's second largest international parcel delivery network, operating as a subsidiary under the French national postal service. The DPDgroup had been working on this program with Atechsys, a French drone company, since 2014 in the south of France.

"The first commercial line represents a new step in the program," DPDgroup said in a press release. With the testing phase now over, the experimentation phase is all set to begin.

Currently, those participating in the experiment to receive parcels are non-residential, including over ten tech companies. The done routes stretch over the southeastern region of Provence, going between Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Beaume and Pourrieres.

Still, while France may be the first to use drones in federal postage, it's not the only one using drones for mail. Amazon's drone delivery service made its first delivery last week in the United Kingdom. And in America, the U.S. Postal service took a survey to determine how people would feel about drones delivering packages to their homes. It turned out that more people were into the idea than against it.

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