The United States Postal Service issued an RFI (Request for Information) to vendors requesting information about unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones as delivery vehicles.
In the RFI, the postal service “seeks information from UAS operators and developers interested in providing aircraft and aircraft operations for delivery of mail and to collect geodetic/spatial data to improve all autonomous vehicle performance.”
It further states, that the aircraft operation will be regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules for Public Aircraft Operations and will support Postal Service missions, including (but not limited to):
- Long Driveway Delivery (drone launches from a vehicle, makes delivery, returns to the vehicle
while carrier continues their route)
- Remote/Difficult Delivery Points (i.e. rugged terrain, small islands)
- Ride-Sharing Model (customers use the application to access USPS drone fleet for business to customer delivery)
- Infrastructure as a Service – Drone service providers leverage USPS Post Office and vehicle coverage, launching, charging, data, etc. (e.g., farm or power Line inspection)
USPS Not Planning to Award Contract (Yet)
RFI’s are not a request intended to award contracts. With this RFI, the USPS is just asking for information from vendors in the industry how drones could be implemented within the USPS.
“The Postal Service is seeking market information as it considers any future requirements and, based on the level of interest from the industry, may identify candidates for a future solicitation to develop the Postal Service’s UAS operations and demonstrate the necessary reliability and safety of unmanned aircraft technology.”
United States Postal Service Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) RFI
While we are still a long time away from drone deliveries becoming an everyday occurrence, USPS and other delivery services must look at this inevitable future,
This is now another example of how the postal service is trying to keep up with the competition in the logistics market where drone deliveries are slowly moving from test environments to limited use.
What do you think about the idea of USPS exploring drone deliveries?
Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.