China’s getting more serious about the drone business with arrival of a new kind of delivery service. A Shenzhen-based courier service called SF Express is currently testing “high tech” drones that can deliver packages to remote locations. Thanks to a built-in navigation system, these drones can go where trucks can’t.
Although it’s not the only first of its kind, the SF Express experiment is one of the more prominent examples of drone delivery. The navigation system is smart enough that courier services simply type in an address, and then the drone carries the package right to it. Others are approaching the package delivery service more specifically. An American startup called Matternet is working on a similar service that would transport relief aid to those who need it. And who could forget the Domino’s drone for pizza delivery or the TacoCopter for Mexican food.
Don’t expect to see drones with boxes strapped to the bottom floating around the sky anytime soon. Many of the trials out there involve small drones that could only carry one package at a team. So while it’s impressive (and very PR-friendly) to use drones in novel ways, the technology still has a ways to get before it hits the mainstream. [SCMP]