UPDATE: April 3 -- The answer to the question "Could your newspaper soon be delivered by drones?" would appear to be "No." NBC News is reporting that Monday's blog post by France's La Poste was an April Fools' Day hoax, and that French "quadricopter" manufacturer Parrot is not dropping off newspapers on doorsteps after all.
NBC takes the time to ask the obvious practical question: "The tiny drones don't seem to have room to carry more than just one newspaper. How efficient could that possibly be[?]"
Previously:Could your newspaper soon be delivered by drones? That's the case for some customers in the French province of Auvergne.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday that local postal service La Poste Group may start using drones to deliver mail as early as May. It is currently working with drone-maker Parrot to test out newspaper delivery using quadricopter drones.
Customers volunteered to participate in the experiment, which is being carried out by twenty postal workers who control the drones through a smartphone app. The drones can fly within a range of fifty meters.
The Associated Press recently reported on the debate over civilian drones, which can be used to inspect infrastructure and supply pesticides to crops. Still, there are public concerns about their misuse, and what regulations should be put in place.
La Poste Group's experiment will not be replicated in the United States for at least a few years. The Chronicle noted, "The FAA is working to officially allow the commercial use of drones by 2015, but the drones cannot fly higher than 400 feet above the ground and must be at least five miles away from any airport."
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