Royal Mail mulls drones for rural deliveries

Driverless vans also a lovely idea, says chief exec

The Royal Mail's chief exec has envisioned a future with drone deliveries and driverless vans.

Jumping enthusiastically onto the airborne parcel bandwagon, Moya Greene told the CBI's annual conference she'd "love to see" UAVs taking on rural delivery services to "more remote places where you don’t have to deliver too much".

Green also suggested autonomous ground vehicles might up efficiency. She said: "I'd love to see how sensory technology is working, so that we can probably see a day when we’re going to have driverless trucks, and very very well-constructed ways on the highways system."

The Canadian - who's the former CEO of Canada Post and took the helm of Royal Mail in 2010 - noted: "I'm old enough to remember when we started talking in Canada about driverless trains. Within five years of the department of transportation doing research into driverless trains it became the norm at airports, and we would never build a train at an airport today that had a driver on it."

Drone delivery projects are very much the flavour of the month, although it remains to be seen if they're a practical proposition. Amazon and Walmart are among the US companies battling for control of the skies, while Swiss Post and Singapore Post have already got the jump on Royal Mail in getting aloft.

Back on the ground, the founders of Skype recently announced a wheeled robodelivery fleet, due to enter pilot service in 2016. ®

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