UPS is taking the lead on drone delivery with its first custom-built, drone-launching truck test in rural areas #actionmagic
While Amazon has been teasing and working on its drone delivery program for a while now, UPS is ready for tests. As opposed to Amazon’s fixed-launching pad for delivery drones and the hurdles that come with it (flight time restrictions, long distance regulations), UPS’ system is based on a launching truck.
The shipping titan has built a delivery truck whose roof is used as the door for fully autonomous delivery drones. At this week’s test in Florida, an octocopter was seen flying through the top of the truck with a package for a specific address while the driver was handling other deliveries in the area. The idea is to share the load with the drone carrier instead of relying solely on it.
Besides taking advantage of the technology advancements and organizing their resources better, UPS sees drone delivery as an opportunity to cut down on the number of miles driven and by doing that, minimize emissions. In rural areas, where households are often set many miles apart from one another, this rings true.
The UPS custom-made truck was developed in partnership with an electric truck and drone developer from Ohio, Workhorse. The design of the vehicle enables the drone to be loaded quickly several times and to recharge faster. The drone can fly up to 30 minutes at a time and carry a maximum of 10 pounds. When it’s done delivering, it can reunite with the truck wherever this happens to be:
UPS has bought 350 electric hybrid trucks from Workhorse already, all of which are equipped to work with their HorseFly UAV Delivery. Their plan seems solid, but technology hiccups happen. Just this Monday, in the second, unofficial test, the drone aborted its launch and fell to the side of the truck. Until they can fix such occurrences, UPS rural drone delivery will have to wait.