Drone
The drones are not likely to be used commercially for the next five yearsSwiss Post

Unmanned drones will be employed to deliver small packages in Switzerland, as the country's postal service begins testing the viability of the technology.

Swiss Post showed off the drones it hopes would deliver small goods across the country on 7 July, but commercial use of the vehicles is not likely for another five years.

The drones have four propellers each, extending from its main body, with a yellow box attached to the centre for carrying goods.

They are connected via cloud computing that aggregates the weather, terrain and airspace data, and can carry a load of up to 1kg over a distance of more than 10kms with a single battery charge.

The project is a collaboration between Swiss Post, Swiss WorldCargo and California-based drone manufacturer Matternet.

"The possible areas of application offered by drone technology are very diverse, ranging from delivery to peripheral areas to the express delivery of goods," Swiss Post said.

"This could, for example, involve bringing supplies to an area that has been cut off from the outside world following a storm.

"Another realistic possibility is the urgent transport of consignments with the highest priority, such as laboratory tests," it added.

Swiss Post stressed it would carry out extensive tests to assess the feasibility of the technology, including limited battery life.

"Until the time of their realistic commercial use in around five years, there are various requirements which need to be clarified," it said.

For now, the company said, drones would be used for deliveries in "emergency situations".

The news comes as drone technology is being adopted by governments and businesses around the world for various purposes.

Earlier in May, e-commerce giant Amazon had revealed its proposed drone delivery service, which the company would use to deliver goods by tracking the location of recipients using their smartphone data.

Surveillance drones are also set to be rolled out at London airports by police. As of now, the UK has an estimated 50,000 drones in use.