Drone delivers mail for first time.

Singapore Post said it has successfully tested delivery via drone.

The company said its experiment marked the first time any postal service has used an unmanned aerial vehicle to deliver mail between two points, with verification that the package was received. The drone traveled over water, from the northeastern coast of Singapore’s main island to Pulau Ubin, a small island off the coast. The roughly 2km journey took about five minutes, SingPost said in a news release.

The drone was developed in a joint effort with Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority. Capable of lifting up to 500 grams, the drone was equipped with a security and verification system, which allowed the recipient to confirm its arrival. The current model ascends to 45 meters and can travel up to 2.3km.

Though SingPost says it has “no plans” to commercialize the technology just yet, the experiment underscores its aim to become the leading logistics provider for e-commerce in the region. Group CEO Wolfgang Baier said in a press release that the company is “building ecosystems to facilitate e-commerce” in the Asia-Pacific region.

The strategy could help to compensate for declining global mail volume. And using drones could improve efficiency, particularly in an urban environment prone to traffic congestion.

If developed further, delivery drones could be a game changer for countries with clusters of small islands, such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

Even before SingPost’s test, drones were creating a buzz in Singapore. In July, ride-hailing app operator Uber launched a marketing campaign in which it used them to deliver ice cream.

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