SF Express, one of China’s largest parcel companies, is testing helicopter drones to deliver packages. Although SF Express isn’t the first company using drones for commercial purposes, China is the first country to legalize parcel delivery this way. The police in Dongguan (Guangdong province, China) gave their permission and said it will do so in the future, as long as the companies are granted permission from civil aviation and air traffic authorities. At the same time the US is hampered by the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not currently allow drones for commercial use in US airspace. Furthermore the FAA is not required to issue commercial drone rules until 2015.
The drones automatically deliver parcels to exact locations using a built-in navigation system, with a maximum error of about 2 meters. Furthermore they are capable of flying 100 meters high. Due to the growing e-commerce market, the drones can be of interesting value. In particular delivering parcels in remote areas and in busy cities struggling with traffic and pollution the helicopter drones can be useful. However SF Express only tested the drones, so we can only wonder about the next step in using drones for commercial purposes.