Royal Mail wants to use drones and driverless trucks


Tim Wallace

November 17, 2015

Chief executive Moya Greene said the modern technology requires less manpower and could improve the service

Letters and parcels could soon be moved around the country by driverless vans or delivered to your door by drone, according to Royal Mail’s chief executive Moya Greene.

US tech giants Amazon and Google have been experimenting with drone deliveries, while Swiss Post has actually started delivering parcels with pilotless aircraft.

Now, Royal Mail is looking at following suit. Those in the countryside are likely to be the first to experience the service, Ms Greene told the CBI’s annual conference, if the plans do materialise.

“I don’t think it is going to be to every single address, I think it is going to work in more remote places where you don’t have to deliver too much. I’d love to see things like that,” she said.

She has previously warned that daily rural deliveries are under threat as competitors to Royal Mail do not have to offer the same universal service across the country which it is legally obliged to provide.

Driverless technology could help make these deliveries more efficient.

“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,” she said.

The Canadian chief executive said that the technologies may sound radical but could be accepted very quickly once adopted.

“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,” she said.

Ms Greene joined Royal Mail in 2010 and led its stock market flotation in 2013 .

She added that Royal Mail is still able to innovate despite its enormous size, the burden of regulation and its very long history.

“I think that part of keeping up and being here for 500 years to come is to watch all of those things with great interest,” she said, noting the innovations that she has helped deliver in recent years.

“We were the first to put Sunday service on the ground with parcels inside the M25 area . We were the first to open our networks later and later. We put these in place from the time we had the idea, through our unions and our people, in six weeks.”

This article was written by Tim Wallace from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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