Switzerland to test drone delivery
Drones will help deliver toothbrushes, deodorant and smartphones to Swiss homes this fall as part of a pilot project, the first of its kind over a densely populated area.
The drones will take items from a distribution center in the Zurich area and transport them 5 to 10 miles to awaiting delivery vans. The van drivers then bring the packages to homes.
Andreas Raptopoulos, the CEO of drone firm Matternet, said last week that the drones will speed up deliveries, buzzing over congested urban streets or natural barriers such as Lake Zurich.
Matternet, which is based in Menlo Park, California, is partnering on the project with Mercedes-Benz’s vans division and Swiss e-commerce startup Siroop. It has been approved by Switzerland’s aviation authority, as has a separate Matternet project to carry medical supplies between Swiss hospitals.
The experiments come as big firms such as Amazon and Google have spent several years investing in drone delivery research. So have some traditional delivery companies that are eager to find new ways to transport small packages, which take up the bulk of the market.