First past the Post for drone delivery

Drone Delivery by Australia Post

[Editor’s Note: Australia Post hopes to test a single operator controlling multiple drones at the same time, possibly from a postal van.]

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AUSTRALIA Post will seek exemptions from a number of key regulations around the use of drones as it plots more extensive tests of the hi-tech delivery option.

The postal service will ask the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to grant it an exemption from two key rules governing the use of commercial drones ahead of planned real-world testing.

At issue are CASA’s line of site regulations, which require drone operators to constantly maintain visual contact with a drone.

Australia Post is also seeking an exemption from regulations which limit operators from controlling more than one drone at a time.

The delivery giant started testing how it can deliver small parcels to customers via drones in a closed field trial in April.

Australia Post trusted e-commerce solutions general manager Andrew Walduck said the organisation was looking to start its first round of real world testing next year but would first need the exemptions from CASA.

Relaxing the line of sight requirements would allow Australia Post to trial drones for parcel deliveries in remote areas.

It is also keen to test a single operator controlling several drones at the same time, potentially from a postal van.

“The technology now enables you to fly a drone beyond line of sight and operate more than one drone at a time,” Mr Walduck said.

“Both things will be critical to the commercial use of drones for parcel delivery.”

New regulations which make it easier to use commercial drones came into force late last month.

Drone operators are still prohibited from flying above 400 feet or within 30m of buildings, railways or vehicles and 5.5 kilometres from an airport. Commercial operators can also apply for exemptions from the regulations.


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