The innovator that is France

by on April 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm in Current Affairs, Science | Permalink

This is on multiple news sites and the articles claim indeed swear they are not April Fools’ jokes (update: though it seems they are), so here goes:

In Auvergne, a province in central France, residents get their daily news the old-fashioned way: through newspapers. But the delivery of said newspapers, apparently, will soon be executed with the help of high tech — because it’ll be done with the help of drones.

Auvergne’s local postal service, La Poste Group, announced on its blog that it is partnering with the drone-maker Parrot to explore the wacky world of high-flying news delivery. The service will be called “Parrot Air Drone Postal,” and it will make use of Parrot’s quadricopter drones. To test its general feasibility, the delivery service is already being, er, piloted in Auvergne, Silicon Alley Insider reports, with a team of 20 postal workers and 20 drones. (The postal workers control the drones by a specialized app — which they can use on iOS or Android devices.)

For the pointer I thank Charlie Schaezlein, a loyal MR reader.

X April 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm

This could actually be useful for delivering pizzas and similar.

James April 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Reminds me of http://tacocopter.com/ . Ironic that one of the first uses of delivery-copter is to deliver information that anyone under a certain age gets through the internet.

Silas Barta April 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Sounds like just a lot of people getting fooled. The payload value per unit weight, as well as carrying capacity per flight, is way too low to justify using quadrocopters, which would be constantly recharging.

Rahul April 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

+1

Wikipedia says: “it can maintain flight for about 12 minutes”

JWatts April 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Phhttt, you guys are just thinking too small. We just need a chain of quad copters, just like the Pony Express. I call dibs on the phrase ‘Parrot Express’.

Andrew' April 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Deliver quadcopters.

Rob April 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm

maybe two quadcopters could carry the newspaper together, using a string of creeper

AndrewL April 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

African or European?

Andrew' April 2, 2013 at 6:30 am

The rolled up newspaper could be the body of the quadcopter. Then you remove and mail back the motors.

JWatts April 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

Then you remove and mail back the motors.

Winner!

Brian April 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

All the French sites linked in the “multiple sources” show pictures of fish and mention Poisson d’Avril… April’s Fish is apparently someone fooled on April 1st.

Joël April 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm

A “Poisson d’Avril” is an hoax of April 1st, not the person fooled by it. But I agree, this is obviously a “poisson d’Avril”.

londenio April 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Could be a hoax. But it does reinforce the idea that innovation in France focuses on replacing very expensive human workers with technology, both in manufacturing and service industry.

Noah Campbell April 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm

As one who is fluent in French I can confirm that a “poisson d’avril” is an April Fool’s joke. And if you’d Googled Auvergne you would have realized it right away. Testing drone delivery of just about anything there would be ridiculous. It’d be like testing it in Montana.

http://www.francetvinfo.fr/le-meilleur-des-pires-poissons-d-avril-2013_293327.html

DocMerlin April 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm

“Testing drone delivery of just about anything there would be ridiculous”
Not if it was automated, for custom orders (food delivery)

Nicoli April 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for the tacocopter.

http://tacocopter.com/

Andrew' April 2, 2013 at 6:32 am

After reflection, the only viable use is to mount a .22 so Obama can use it for his assassinations.

Hazel Meade April 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

Will we be able to sue people for littering if they deliver junk mail via drone?

JWatts April 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

That sounds like an opportunity to practice my trap shooting.

Martin April 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

It was definitely a hox – La Poste itself has updated its blog to say so, with a little background as to why they did it (English version below the French version!):

http://www.laposte.fr/legroupe/Actualites/Air-Drone-Postal-poisson-d-avril-!-Et-pourtant

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