The Swiss postal service, Swiss Post, is going to attempt the first drone deliveries using Matternet, a company that is working on perfecting drone-based delivery systems. The first tests will happen in Switzerland this summer and they are designed as proof of concept to “to clarify the legal framework, consider local conditions and explore the technical and business capabilities of the drones.”
That’s right: robots are about to deliver our mail.
The first Matternet drone, called the ONE, can transport items up to 1 kilogram over 20 kilometers – or about 12 miles – on one charge. The company hopes to use the drones to deliver light packages like medicine, documents, and parts.
Founded by Andreas Raptopoulos and Paola Santana, the company was rooted in Raptopoulos dream of building a flying car. After attending the Singularity University summer program at NASA Ames Laboratory, he founded Matternet to bring quadcopters – on a smaller scale – to places where they were needed most. They have raised $2.2 million in seed capital from investors including Flextronics, Scott Banister, and Nas.
Matternet previously tested its drones in Haiti where it delivered medicine and supplies to inaccessible areas. The company now hopes to run three pilots in Switzerland and they have already flown more drone hours than anyone else in the world.
“Our product is vertically integrated into a complete transportation solution. Swiss Post comes to us, we supply them all the technology (drones, landing pads, batteries, charging stations, cloud software) and they just focus on operations,” said Raptopoulos.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com