- Vehicle carries T-shirt and letter for more than a mile
- Test comes after Singapore passed drone law earlier this year
Singapore Post Ltd. is testing package delivery by drone, echoing attempts by Amazon.com Inc. to extend the commercial capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The company known as SingPost said a drone it developed with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore carried a packet containing a letter and T-shirt on a five-minute, two-kilometer (1.2 miles) flight. This marks the first time any postal service has successfully used a drone for “point-to-point recipient-authenticated mail delivery,” it said in a statement Thursday.
SingPost is looking to such unmanned aircraft as online transactions increase in the Asia-Pacific region and as Singapore plans to develop itself into a so-called Smart Nation through technology usage. There is “immense potential” in drone technology for last-mile mail and e-commerce delivery, Bernard Leong, SingPost’s head of digital services, said in the statement.
E-commerce companies such as Amazon have been pressing for permission to deliver packages by drone in the U.S., but have run up against proposed regulations that would require operators to remain within sight of their vehicles at all times. In April, Amazon received a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration allowing it to run tests in the U.S.
Singapore passed a law regulating the use of drones earlier this year. The drone used by SingPost is equipped with safety features, and is complemented by a prototype application with security and verification features to make sure the mail reaches its intended recipient, according to the release.