Drone Delivery Could Be The Courier Industry's Next Big Boom

One of southern China's leading courier companies is testing an 8-propeller robotic delivery drone equipped with a built-in navigation system that helps guide it to each target, er, customer.

Shenzhen-based SF Express has been testing an advanced prototype of a small helicopter-like shipping machine equipped with a package shelf in Dongguan city, Guangdong province.  

The drones' computer brains demand only that a human dispatcher input the customer's address and suggest an “as the crow flies” flight path.

Once airborne and on their way, the drones can reach altitudes of up to 100 meters (about 330 feet) while staff at the launch site monitor the drone's movements and make course corrections within two meters (around 6.5 feet) of the flight path if necessary.

Spokespersons from SF Express state the delivery drones were developed to address historic difficulties in delivering small packages to remote areas, which is somewhat chillingly like the modus operandi of military drones. Unlike the latter, though, SF Express's drones are expected to return intact from each successful mission.

As for the delivery deliver-ees, it's recommended they keep their accounts in the black. SF Express knows their address and could easily arrange for a visit - one-way this time - from a dedicated collection drone. (via South China Morning Post, images via MyDrivers.com)