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No newspaper delivery drones! French firm admits prank

La Poste
La Poste / Parrot

Parrot, a French company that makes small quadricopter drones that you can control with a smartphone app, seemed ready to put newspaper delivery boys out of business.

Parrot had teamed up with a local postal service and planned to test 20 delivery drones in the French town of Auvergne, La Poste Group wrote in a blog post.

On the one hand, it seems like an enchanting idea: Pre-programmed drones operated by postal workers from afar doing quick drop-offs without needing to weave through traffic. It was so enchanting in fact, that it made its way past a usually skeptical April Fools' day media, appearing as apparently normal news in VentureBeat, Business Insider and the International Business Times, among others. Wisely, The Atlantic at least allowed for the possibility of a prank.

When we inquired, we received a quick, clear note from a Parrot spokesperson: "The post is an April Fools' joke." Alas, the paperboy drones are no more real than the fabled Tacocopter.

Which makes sense. The tiny drones don't seem to have room to carry more than just one newspaper. How efficient could that possibly be, using a flying lawn mower to deliver one newspaper at a time?

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about technology and science and drones, drones, drones. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.