Pošta Slovenije began conducting its first trial flights with unmanned aircraft in preparation for the time when it will be able to use them for essential package delivery

Steps towards unmanned aircraft package delivery

Pošta Slovenije carried out its first trial flight with an unmanned aircraft, i.e. a drone, which delivered a package to the Poštarski dom mountain hut on Vršič in the final phase of its flight. The company is undertaking this innovation project to look for new business opportunities and take an active approach to forming regulations that govern flying and operating unmanned aircraft in Slovenia. Many companies around the globe already use this method to successfully deliver packages, whereas the current European legislation does not yet permit flying outside one’s field of vision.

“Today, Pošta Slovenije is initiating its first trial flights with unmanned aircraft. In doing so, we are preparing for the time when we will be able to deliver essential packages to places that cannot be reached as quickly or efficiently by conventional vehicles. In view of the current delivery trends, we are no longer far from the moment when, instead of mere trial flights, we will be able to carry out actual drone deliveries. We want to be actively involved in the process of creating regulations that govern flying and operating unmanned aircraft in Slovenia, with the clear aim of looking for new business opportunities,” Tomaž Kokot, Pošta Slovenije’s General Manager Ad Interim, explained upon the initial test flight of the unmanned aircraft.  Although, as pointed out by Kokot, technology has enabled this for quite some time now, regulations that govern airspace are proving to be a stumbling block. At the moment, Europe does not have much manoeuvring space to accommodate mass deliveries of this type. “There is great potential for using drones in deliveries for a variety of purposes. These include delivery of laboratory samples from remote areas, delivery of goods from ships to land, and even delivering online purchases to end customers. Here, we see great potential in Pošta Slovenije as well, namely also for the segment of online shopping delivery, as a service with the highest added value.

The main advantages of using this type of vehicle include reduced pollution, optimisation of logistics channels, quick deliverability of essential goods and materials to remote and difficult-to-access areas, etc. In addition, great potential can be found in supplying and delivering postal items to mountain posts and cabins, while collecting and removing waste on the way back to the valley. The same goes for emergency delivery of medicines and medical devices, which would fulfil the aim of remaining a relevant and comprehensive link between the Slovenian economy and the population.

As pointed out on this occasion by the Advisor to the Board of Pošta Slovenije, Marjan Osvald, the area of deliveries by means of unmanned aircraft is dominated by technologically more advanced countries, such as the United States, China, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Switzerland, along with companies such as Alibaba, Amazon and Google. China is predicted to begin providing drone deliveries of one-tonne cargoes across distances of up to 1,500 km as early as 2025. “The EU has ambitious plans as well, as the European Commission sees the future of unmanned aircraft in agriculture, the energy sector, supervision of law and order, online stores and mobility in general.”

“Further steps of Pošta Slovenije in this area involve participation in RDI (research, development and innovation) projects, demo projects to set up environments in which autonomous deliveries are possible, and the establishment of/joining a consortium of major Slovenian companies that see the opportunity to create business models of the future in the area of commercial use of autonomous aircraft and other autonomous vehicles. What is more, these companies are ready to influence the creation of the currently applicable legislation with their experience to date,” added Kristijan Perčič, Innovation Advisor.

Pošta Slovenije carried out the first trial flight with an unmanned aircraft in collaboration with a Slovenian company OneDrone, the first Slovenian operator of unmanned aircrafts of the highest category, which enables aircraft operations in the most challenging of conditions, and with start-up company ElevonX, which produces unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and even entire systems. The start-up developed the SkyEye modular unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system and brought it in serial production.

Source: Pošta Slovenije

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