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================ Blog maintained by : P. Radhamohan Nair, Private Secretary to Post Master General, (Retired) Northern Region, Calicut, Kerala Circle=================

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Singapore: World's first drone postal delivery takes place on Pulau Ubin island

By Mary-Ann Russon                                                                        October 8, 2015 10:52 BST

Singapore has carried out the world's first point-to-point postal delivery by drone SingPost and IDA 

Singapore has successfully performed the world's first delivery of mail by drone, conducting a test flight carrying a letter and a parcel with a T-shirt, which crossing from one island to another.

While there have been other similar postal-delivery-by-drone trials conducted by DHL in Germany, Swiss Post in Switzerland and the Posti Group in Finland, Singapore Post (SingPost) claims that this is the first time that an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been used for point-to-point recipient-authenticated mail delivery. 

The drone took off from Lorong Halus, a wetland area on the eastern bank of Serangoon Reservoir on mainland Singapore, and flew 2km to the delivery location within just five minutes across open water to Pulau Ubin, one of Singapore's 60 offshore islands, preserved as a rural area of beauty. 

The SingPost Alpha Drone 

The SingPost Alpha Drone was built by SingPost in collaboration with IDA Labs, the research arm of the government agency Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). 

It can carry a payload weighing up to 500g and travel a maximum distance of 2.3km, but it cannot fly any higher than 45m, which is far below the maximum height of 400m established by civil aviation authorities in Europe and the US.

A map showing the flight path taken by the Alpha drone to make its first ever mail deliverySingPost and IDA 
The drone uses technology from the open source Pixhawk Steadidrone platformtogether with a new experimental delivery platform developed by SingPost and tied to a mobile app. 

"This drone technology is tailored for use in dense urban landscapes. It is energy-efficient and reduces carbon footprint as it is fully battery-operated," said Dr Bernard Leong, head of digital services at SingPost. 

"We have developed a customised solution app equipped with security features and authentication functions to ensure that mail and packages are delivered to the intended recipient. Through this app, users will be able to select their preferred delivery date and time to suit their schedules." 

Still a way to go before drone deliveries take off 

Drone delivery might sound very exciting, but realistically even Singapore, which is known for its early adoption of emerging technologies, admits that it will be some time before UAVs become a regular sight in the sky. 

"Although it will be a while before it is viable for drone mail delivery to take off in Singapore, taking into consideration commercial and safety factors; this first step by SingPost and IDA demonstrates what Singapore is trying out with our Smart Nation vision – to have the various parts of our ecosystem collaborate, experiment with new ways of doing things, and in the process, literally aim for the sky with new technology," said Jacqueline Poh, managing director of IDA. 

Drone guidelines set out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, following the passing of the Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Bill in August 2015CAAS

Singapore allows anyone to fly drones within their line of sight, but commercial users must obtain an operator permit and an activity permit, following the passing of the Unmanned Aircraft (Public Safety and Security) Bill in August. Even recreational users are required to apply for an activity permit if they choose to fly the UAV outdoors, but no permit is required if the drone is flown indoors or in an area not affecting the general public.

The Singapore government is keen to push the use of drones in order to ease manpower constraints in the country. In February, local restaurant chain Timbre Group made international news for trialling drone waiters to help deliver food from its kitchens.
Source : http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

Uttarpex 2015, 1st Zonal Philatelic Exhibition, Lucknow.

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Kerla Postal Circle on modernisation path

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, October 14, 2015 : The Kerala Postal Circle is on the path of rapid modernisation, according to Chief Postmaster General A.N. Nanda.
Addressing Reporters at a Press Conference organized as part of the National Postal Week here on Tuesday, Mr. Nanda said the computerization of all Post Offices in the State was under way as part of the India Post 2012 project. As many as 94 Post Offices in the Postal Circle have been networked to the Core Banking Solution (CBS) platform. The remaining 1,414 Sub Post Offices in the State will be brought within the platform before March 31, 2016.
The facility will provide easy access to financial services to all citizens even in remote areas. In addition, as part of incorporating Information Communication Technology (ICT), all Branch Post Offices would be supplied with hand-held devices and would be networked soon, Mr. Nanda said.

According to him, the Department of Posts was working on developing networks originating from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode to connect major towns and cities as part of facilitating faster transportation of parcels.

At present, two Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of India Post have been commissioned at the Thiruvananthapuram General Post Office and the Ernakulam Head Post Office. The efforts for establishing 49 additional ATMs in various parts of the State are under way. While the approval for setting up the India Post Payment Bank has been obtained, banking operations are expected to commence by 2017.

Mr. Nanda added that the various insurance schemes that were being implemented through the India Post had been successful in the State. Nearly 2.62 lakh accounts have been opened in the Kerala Circle for the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana scheme that provided financial security for girls, aged below 10 years.

In addition, the Pradhan Mantri Jeeven Jyothi Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, both insurance schemes, have been introduced in all the 94 Post Offices where the CBS has been rolled out. He said that the Postal Department, which had the best network across the country, would be able to reach out to the far-flung areas which have remained outside the purview of the banking and insurance system.

“It has also been decided to organise ‘Kerapex 2016’, a Kerala Circle-Level Philatelic Exhibition in Thrissur from January 6 to 8 next year,” Mr. Nanda added.
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/