Australia Post has started testing how it can deliver small parcels to its online shopping customers by remotely piloted aircraft.
The organisation today launched closed-field trials of drones to work out how small parcels can be delivered "safely and securely" - and much faster than current standards - to residences.
The trials are being conducted on Australia Post property in partnership with unmanned aerial vehicle maker Ari Labs.
The initial trials will run for two weeks, according to an AusPost spokesperson, and would involve discussions with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. The drones will fly for up to 20 minutes or around 15km and at 350 feet.
Last month CASA relaxed the country's drone rules to allow commercial operators to fly drones weighing under 2 kg without a licence. The changes will take place on September 29 this year.
However, operations outside of line-of-sight and over densely populated areas are still prohibited without special CASA approval.
Drone operators are also required to stay more than 30 metres away from people, buildings, vehicles and boats; and not exceed 120 metres height in controlled airspace.
Initially, Australia Post will focus on testing the applications of the technology, but will follow with a customer trial in Victoria later this year, it said.
“RPA technology will continue to evolve over the coming years and while we're not sure what role it will play in our future, we do think there are opportunities for time-critical deliveries or where there are significant distances between the road and front door," Fahour said in a statement today.
“Today’s online shopper expects to receive their purchase whenever and wherever they want. RPAs may be another way to help make our customers’ lives easier and builds on our existing 24/7 Parcel Lockers and MyPost service.
"We will put this innovative technology through its paces over the coming weeks and months to understand what it can deliver, how far it can travel, and ultimately, how our customers could receive a parcel."
The organisation has been contacted for further detail on the trial.