In Switzerland, their national postal service will be conducting an experiment. Instead of a mailman delivering the bills, checks, letters, and junk mail, robots will be filling in.
The Swiss Post will be using drones supplied by Matternet. These experiments are expected to start summer 2015. The first drone they’ll use is called ONE. This drone can deliver over two pounds of mail over 12 miles in one trip. Matternet has already tested drones to deliver medicine to Haiti’s poorest communities and most inaccessible neighborhoods. This drone company leads the world in hours flown and now wants to run three pilots for the Swiss Post. Matternet’s founders, Andres Raptopoulos and Paola Santana, are very excited about the experiment, as well they should be. It’s been their dream to send drones to places that could use them the most. Maybe they have a little too much confidence in Matternet. Raptopoulos is quoted as saying, “Quadcopters may be the biggest invention in vehicle technology since the internal combustible engine.” But then again, when you look at how popular and useful drones are today, Raptopoulos may be onto something.
I applaud Matternet for using drones for when they’re needed and in emergency situations and in times of crises. They’re doing a good job with that in Haiti, where the need is often critical. But how critical is it for mail to be delivered by drones? Will it really hurt us if our letters and small packages keep getting to their destinations the old fashioned way? I think Matternet should focus their efforts on philanthropy work, like what they’re doing in Haiti. There are a lot of places around the world, and even here in America, that can use such services. And what if the experiment is successful? What if nations around the world use Matternet drones? How many potential jobs could that cost?