Snail mail will soon be a thing of the past in Switzerland, where testing is underway for unmanned drones able to carry packages up to 10 kilometers away. The Swiss Post has been developing drone technology for package delivery for some time, and this month it’s planning to use flying robots to deliver critical supplies to remote areas.

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The one kilogram (2.2 lb.) drone “flies autonomously, following clearly defined, secure flight paths, which are drawn up by cloud software developed by Matternet (the drone’s US manufacturer),” according to the Swiss Post, which is working with Swiss World Cargo to advance the project. The drones are not expected to take their initial flights for another five years, yet the innovation is moving steadily along. Hopes are high for testing to reveal how to increase the battery life (currently one charge can carry a package 10 km, or 6.2 miles) and to navigate mountainous terrain.

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Unmanned drones would give remote areas of the country access to emergency supplies, especially when affected by storms or other natural disasters. The testers are hopeful the crafts could carry time-sensitive laboratory tests and results to and fro as well. Who knows what other crucial services could be expedited with these automated “deliverymen,” or how long before drones can drop Friday night takeout at our doors.

+Swiss Post

Via Discovery News

Images via Yoshiko Kusano