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Drones Could Soon Be Delivering Mail in the Land Down Under

April 15, 2016, 8:16 PM UTC
Photograph by Getty Images

Drones could soon be delivering letters, soap, and other small items in the land down under.

The Australia Post, the Australian government-owned postal service, said on Friday that it will commence a two-week test of drone deliveries drones in the city of Melbourne.

As part of the trial, the postal service will use drones built by a robotics company called ARI Labs. The goal of the tests are to determine how reliable are the flying robots, how far can they travel, what objects can it safely transport, and the best ways customers could receive packages, according to a report on the tests by The Australian. If the drones prove dependable during the field tests, the postal service said it would launch a larger consumer trial later in the year in which drones will be delivering goods to doorsteps.

For the larger consumer trial, the postal service plans to deploy the drones to rural areas outside of the urban city. The postal service has selected 50 locations where it will test drone deliveries twice a week, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

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For these rural locations, delivery drivers would drive to locations near homes and then send the drones on their way to recipients’ doorstops. This would benefit rural Australian residents in which their mailboxes may be distant from their houses, the Herald noted.

The drones can currently carry packages weighing a little over 2.5 pounds, and will be tested for short 15 to 20 minute flights, according to The Australian. If the drones happen to malfunction up in the sky, ARI Labs outfitted the flying robots with parachutes and alarms so people on the ground can stay clear of danger.

The drone delivery testing comes at a time when the Australia government has relaxed some rules governing businesses seeking regulatory approval to fly small drones for commercial purposes. Similarly, the United States Federal Aviation Administration is currently considering whether to make it easier for businesses to use small drones without being subject to lengthy approval procedures.

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Although big U.S.-based companies like Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), and Walmart (WMT) are interested in drone deliveries, current rules have made it harder for them to test their programs and roll out their drone delivery services as fast as they would like. That’s partly why Amazon spent $10 million last year lobbying in Washington with a chunk of that cash directed toward drone delivery approvals. The online retailer has started testing drones in countries like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands where regulations are more lax.

Earlier this week, Japan began testing drones for deliveries and showed off a drone that delivered a bottle of wine to a shopping center rooftop from a nearby park.

Drone startup Flirtey has also demonstrated a couple FAA-approved drone deliveries, and in March, it made the first legal U.S. drone delivery in an urban area, albeit to an uninhabited house. Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney told Fortune that the company was able to receive approval by the FAA because of its prior experience testing drone deliveries in New Zealand and Australia, where it was once based.