UPS Conducts Drone Home Delivery Trials



/ 2 years ago

Amazon is not the only company flirting with the idea of drone home delivery. United Parcel Service Inc. or UPS for short, is conducting trials and test runs using drones to drop off packages in Florida as a way to possibly cut costs in the future and deliver to certain hard to reach areas much more efficiently. Certain rural areas make delivery difficult due to the lack of road signs and the great distance prohibits cost-effectiveness. The initial test run had an octocopter drone drop off a package in a residence within a blueberry farm property and return to the truck which was on a different location than the one it deployed from.

This “rolling warehouse” system has been designed by Ohio-based Workhorse Group Inc who makes UPS’ plug-in electric vehicles. The octocopter drone itself weighs only 18 pounds and can carry a payload of up to 10 pounds. The driver can use a street view of the intended location to assess where to drop off the package ideally, although for safety reasons, the package cannot be delivered as close to the domicile as a regular delivery person could depending on the possible obstructions around the house which make drone navigation difficult. In these instances, the drone drops off the package several feet from the door step instead.

Pure drone deliveries are not entirely possible yet in the US due to current Federal Aviation Administration guidelines which state that drones have to be within the sight of the drone operator at 200 feet over flat terrain. There are proposed updates to the guidelines that were scheduled to be ratified by end of last year but were delayed by security concerns prompting further review. For now, drone home delivery would have to wait a bit further and that UPS delivery person would have to walk farther to deliver a package.

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