back to article Drones to bring DEBT FROM ABOVE in Switzerland

Swiss Post, the neutral nation's postal service, has confirmed it is testing delivery-by-drone. Staff at the outfit have confirmed a report in local media to Agence France Presse, detailing collaboration with US drone-maker Matternet and the freight division of Swiss International Air Lines. Tests of drone-delivered mail are …

  1. gerdesj Silver badge

    Weather 'tis nobler

    Drones are going to have a right laugh dealing with down draughts and the other hellish delights of flying in mountains. They are light, very light and a mountain will eat them for lunch, even in seemingly perfect conditions.

    Only a DHL operative can kick a parcel harder than a drone dropping out of the sky into a moraine

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Weather 'tis nobler

      Well, not quite. Here in Switzerland the civilised part of the ranges are in very hospitable climates during the summer months. Very much so, as the tourist industry relies on it.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: Weather 'tis nobler

        "...during the summer months ..."

        Well that's nice, deliveries only in the summer when the weather holds! At least next time I go for a spin down a slope in Verbiers, I wont be picking drones out of my teeth.

    2. billse10

      Re: Weather 'tis nobler

      "Only a DHL operative can kick a parcel harder than a drone dropping out of the sky into a moraine"

      The drones drops won't be that hard on the parcels! Hard to find things outside politics that compare with the overall uselessness of DHL. Overnight parcel from one EU country to another, ordered & payment taken 1st April, pickup not until April 2nd, no updates to the "tracking" site after abour 3rd, delivered? Oh, on 17th April.

      Some "overnight" service that is. A drone with clockwork motors - or just some hamsters in wheels - would probably be closer to providing the advertised service.

  2. PNGuinn

    "Tests of drone-delivered ail"

    Ail? - Theyr'e furriners - they popbably drink 'arger

    Bail? - Out, quite possibly. Will the drone have a playmanaut?

    Fail? - Quite probably.

    Hail? - Probably get a lot of that in the alps. Or maybe you have to yodel to the drone to get your post?

    Gail? - how'd she get involved? Can she yodel?

    Jail? - Can I bring my coat? it's cold in them thar cells.

    Kail? - Brassica oleracea acephala to you too.

    Nail? - Pass the screwdriver.

    Pail? - only if you let go of the rope. See Wail below

    Qail? - U would think it could do a better job.

    Rail? - To gun 'em down? Thought the Swiss only kept their rifles at home?

    Sail? - Swiss navy job?

    Tail? - Of the St Bernard parcel retreival service.

    Vail? - That's in the American Alps - perhaps it'll get lost.

    Wail? - see pail above.

    Bonus points for anyone getting the pail reference.

    OK I'll go to bed now. Mine's the nice warm fluffy tartan one with the long belt, thanks.

    1. Thomas Gray

      Re: "Tests of drone-delivered ail"

      No, they are delivering garlic (at least in the French part...)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they dropping it from up high

    Risking damaged mail, wind blowing it into the wrong garden, and maybe needing parachutes each time, or from down low, risking capture and theft, or maybe flying each item individually, using lots of fuel/electricity?

  4. Thomas Gray

    They have it covered from the other angle too

    It is also possible to have the Swiss Post Office open your mail, scan it and email it to you, meaning only packets and letters with stuff in them need be delivered. All covered by the famous Swiss secrecy laws.

    1. Harry the Bastard

      Re: They have it covered from the other angle too

      in the uk we get the first two parts done already, so adding on the email stage should be a doddle

    2. Silverburn

      Re: They have it covered from the other angle too

      The only reason Swisspost open your mail for you, is the "customs inspections". Aka - daylight robbery fees.

  5. LDS Silver badge

    I guess money-mules will start to use them to deliver...

    ... money on the other side of the boundary from Italy and other countries. Gold and other metals are probably too heavy now, but diamonds and other precious stones could be another payload.

    Sure, it could be a risky transfer, but moving illegal money and other goods across the boundary is an old tradition, maybe it will get a new boost from new technology.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I guess money-mules will start to use them to deliver...

      From what I read, drugs may have a better weight-to-value ratio.

      I can see this happen, also because it's not that hard to make drones autonomous in less populated regions which creates rather serious deniability.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: I guess money-mules will start to use them to deliver...

        Maybe, but Swiss bank vaults usually don't store drugs ;-)

      2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: I guess money-mules will start to use them to deliver...

        Drugs - Pah!

        Think big - Ink jet ink!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can see why Google wants drones

    Hell, yes, no more problem with pesky fences that got in the way with Streetview.

    To compensate I think it ought to be made legal to shoot the things when they fly above your premises without invitation.

  7. Silverburn

    Tech specs

    Assuming they're using multrotors, the specs will look very similar to the system I'm testing:

    - 6kg payload

    - 3-4km range

    - 15 mins flight time

    - multiple levels of redundancy

    The drone is the easy part though. The hard part will be Swiss FOCA regulations which forbid - even for the army - BLoS. If you can't fly BLos, there's no real point using the drone.

  8. jonathan keith


    Bugger the story, top marks to that sub.

  9. harmjschoonhoven

    This will fit nicely

    with garbage collection by helicopter as I have seen (and heard) in Wallis.

  10. Bernardo Sviso

    To the door -- or to the local Post Office?

    Sounds (to me) like this is meant to supplement or substitute for delivery by truck, to smaller and/or more remote towns, rather than to replace hand-delivery by the local postman.

  11. martinusher Silver badge

    Peobably not last mile delivery

    If they follow other rural post regimes then you won't get mail delivered, you'll pick it up from a post box in the village. The drone may well be one of those unmanned helicopters that the US uses for supply delivery. These are reliable and effective; they're also efficient because they don't have to carry the weight and support equipment for a human.

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