Swiss Post wanted to accelerate digitization and was researching robots, self-driving cars and delivery drones. But the projects fail due to the market readiness and the legal situation.

Failed: The self-driving Postbus is now in the Verkehrshaus Luzern.

 Self-driving post-cars and post-delivery robots flop

Blown off: The Post's delivery robot was never able to deliver parcels on its own.

Self-driving post-cars and post-delivery robots flop

Crashed: The Post's delivery drone caused two accidents, now there are problems with new laws.

That's what

  • Swiss Post received for its ambitious digital projects a lot of attention.

  • But it turned into flops.

  • The costs for taxpayers are unclear.

Swiss Post wanted to play with the big players on digital issues. Like Google and Amazon, she tested gadgets such as delivery robots and delivery drones and let self-driving Postbuses turn around. But as it now turns out, the projects can only pass as expensive PR gags.

Swiss Post rates the three projects as positive: they have gained important experience and created the basis for future deployments for drones, robots and self-driving buses. But the projects failed due to the market readiness and the legal situation, as the finance portal «Inside Paradeplatz» writes.

The self-driving Postbus is now in the Verkehrshaus

TV stations from Germany and Korea reported on the self-driving Postbus. Prince Albert of Monaco was also impressed. But now the project is over after five years and an accident. PostBus currently has no more shuttles in operation and is not planning to use them for 2022 either.

The buses are retiring, says a spokeswoman on request from 20 minutes. A model is now in the Museum of Transport in Lucerne. The project for the delivery robot introduced over four years ago has also been canceled. He delivered parcels from Jelmoli in Zurich. But there was always a Swiss Post specialist running behind the robot.

The hope was that at some point the robot would be able to jet through the neighborhood on its own. But the law does not allow this at all. Swiss Post now wants to concentrate on robots that transport goods within buildings.

Wrecked drone only at two hospitals

The delivery drone also causes problems. There were two crashes, one time it almost came to a catastrophe when the drone fell to the ground next to playing children without braking. Currently only the Zurich University Hospital, the Zurich University and a regional hospital in Lugano are interested in it.

But now the post-drone is threatened with trouble because of new laws. The new EU drone regulation stipulates that crowds of people may not be flown over. Switzerland is in talks with the EU to adopt the law.

Then drone flights in Zurich and Lugano would hardly be possible. At the post office it is said that it is still too early to say anything about the consequences. Since the postal service is in the hands of the state, the taxpayers have to bear the costs of the failed projects. How much Swiss Post spent on it is not known.

On request, a spokeswoman did not want to comment on the costs because the company was in competition with other companies. However, Swiss Post wants to keep its costs as low as possible. The city of Sion has also taken over the majority of the autonomous Postbus.

New Post tariffs from 2022

From January onwards, watch out for the postage of letters. Then you pay 1.10 francs for A postage stamps and 90 cents for B postage stamps, instead of the previous 1 franc and 85 cents. At the beginning, however, Swiss Post is still accommodating. According to the media spokeswoman for Swiss Post, the missing amounts will only be collected from February onwards, if too little has been stuck on.

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By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7341

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