California-based drone logistics company Matternet, which has been working successfully with Swiss Post since 2017, says it will take over drone delivery operations from Switzerland’s national postal service starting January 1, 2023. In addition, Matternet will leverage its experience from operations in Switzerland to build Europe’s first city-wide drone delivery network.
The five-year partnership between Swiss Post and Matternet has seen the organizations achieve many milestones together, including the operation of the first beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) commercial drone delivery route over a city in Lugano (2017) and the first BVLOS commercial drone delivery route in a major European city (Zurich, 2018).
In 2019, however, drone delivery trials remained largely suspended because two Matternet aircraft crashed in close succession owing to the failsafe parachute system not deploying correctly. Following this, a lot of work was put into improving the safety process of the drones and Swiss Post committed to having its safety processes scrutinized on a continuous basis by an independent supervisory body.
Matternet, meanwhile, considers Switzerland one of the most advanced countries in the world for large-scale drone delivery operations. The company credits the country’s growth in the sector to a robust regulatory framework established by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) and Switzerland’s focus on world-class, efficient logistics and environmentally-friendly technologies.
This vision bodes well with Matternet’s own dream of watching the cities of the future utilize a city-wide drone delivery network to fulfill urgent logistics needs for healthcare. To that end, Matternet has also been working with the Department of Health of Abu Dhabi since September 2021. The company also insists that drones can help transition on-demand e-commerce to a more sustainable mode of transportation.
Matternet says it will collaborate with a group of private and public entities to build the first European city-wide drone delivery network in Switzerland. More details regarding the same will be announced in the coming months.