This spring, residents in France’s south-central province of Auvergne may start receiving their mail in a whole new way: The local postal service, La Poste Group, has partnered with drone manufacturer Parrot to develop a delivery method in which postal workers control drones via an app that works on both iOS and Android devices. According to the La Poste Group blog, the “Parrot Air Drone Postal” test currently taking place involves 20 workers and 20 drones. Depending on its success, the service could be launched as soon as this May.
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What’s the Big Idea?
With the US Post Office trimming down services, it’s hard to say whether drones will replace mail carriers any time soon, but the Auvergne project is one more sign that the devices, in all their various sizes, are becoming more ubiquitous. A much bigger parcel handler, FedEx, wants to use drones instead of passenger planes because they are cheaper and more efficient. However, it has a few more years to wait: The FAA hopes to clear the way towards commercial use of unmanned aircraft by 2015.