Drone Delivery in Australia – revisited


The press is full on news about drone delivery and how it will revolutionise shopping, it will speed up the process, reduce traffic and pollution. But how close are we?

In 2013 we posted an article on Flirtey, a US company that launched a drone book delivery service in Sydney. Flirtey chose Australia as at the time they were one of the few countries allowing open trials for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s). They’re still in the drone delivery business and working in America with Seven-Eleven and New Zealand with Dominoes.

But five years on how close are we to seeing the skies full of drones carrying everything from beer to books. Well we’re not there but not far off.

Google have launched Project Wing in Australia and are carrying out trials in a suburb just south of Canberra. Its only on offer to limited number of locations delivering standard groceries and food stuffs.

The technology allows it to find the delivery location, avoiding trees and power lines etc and can arrive within an hour of an order being placed.

The technology is constantly improving but is still limited by the size of deliveries. However this may change, in China the Ehang 184 test flights have taken place, this is a drone capable of carrying a human being, so a little bigger than a bag of shopping. So we may see drones big enough to deliver the weekly shop soon.

The only company to launch a nationwide drone delivery service is a little more vital than delivering a bottle of wine or the latest Dan Brown. Zipline have a drone delivery network across Rwanda carrying vital medical supplies to remote regions in a country with little infrastructure. This is actively saving lives. Well done zipline.

So we may be a few years off a true drone delivery network but it keeps getting enticingly closer. We’ll update again on new developments, but hopefully sooner than in five years.



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