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Amazon may have gotten all the buzz last year when it talked about delivering products by drones. But France could actually beat the e-commerce giant to the punch.

This week, LaPoste, France’s postal service, announced that its package-delivery subsidiary, GeoPost, had successfully completed initial tests of a service to deliver lightweight mail and packages via drone. The tests were conducted by CEEMA or the Centre d’Études et d’Essai pour Modèles Autonomes (the Center for Autonomous Model Testing and Studies), which is part of the company helping to build the drone.

GeoPost has partnered with Atechsys to build a drone with six rotors that can deliver packages up to 4 kilograms in ranges up to 20 kilometers. In the tests conducted in the fall, GeoPost and Atechsys said the drone demonstrated it could reliably carry a package up to 2 kilograms in ranges up to 1.2 kilometers.

There is no timetable for officially launching the service. In the short term, the drone delivery service is targeted for deliveries in remote areas and possibly for emergency assistance. French law currently forbids the flying of drones over heavily populated areas.


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