UPS tests drone deliveries from the roof of its vans: The company tests the delivery of a package via a drone launched from the top of one of its vans. The operation runs while the driver continues his route to the next delivery.
UPS relies on drones for its future business. The logistics company today announced that it has successfully tested the delivery of a package to a home via a drone launched from the top of one of its vans. The operation runs while the driver continues his route to the next delivery.
The test was conducted Monday in Tampa, Florida, in collaboration with Workhorse Group, an Ohio-based battery-electric truck and drone developer. Workhorse has manufactured both the drone and the UPS electric van used.
“This trial is different from our previous experiences with drones. It has significance for future deliveries, especially in rural areas where our vans often have to travel many miles to make a single delivery, ”said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of Global Engineering and Sustainability. “It is a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles away from the highway. Sending a drone from a van to make just one such delivery can lower the cost of driving in kilometres. This is a great step to reinforce the efficiency in our network, as well as to reduce our emissions ”.
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UPS explained that reducing just 1 mile per driver per day for a year can save the company up to $ 50 million. The logistics company, which has about 102,000 road delivery drivers a day, clarified that rural delivery routes are the most expensive due to the time and vehicle expenses required to complete each delivery. “In this test, the drone has made delivery while the driver continued on his way to perform a different one. This role is one of those that UPS envisions for drones in the future,” said the firm.
Despite the commitment to drones, Wallace stressed that “drivers are the face of our company, and that is not going to change.” “We are excited about the potential of drones to help drivers at certain points on their routes, saving them time and offering improved customer service, whose needs are increasingly numerous due to the growth of electronic commerce.”
How does the system test by UPS work? The base of the drone is located on the roof of the truck. A cage suspended below the drone extends through a window in the roof of the truck. A UPS driver inserts the package into the cage, then presses a button on a touch screen that sends the drone in one direction following a pre-programmed autonomous route. The drone has a battery that recharges while it is in the base, has a flight time of 30 minutes and can carry packages weighing up to 4.5 kg.
This test adds to other UPS experiences with drones. Last September, the company conducted a trial of express delivery of medicine from Beverly, Massachusetts, to an island off the Atlantic coast, located at a distance of about 5 km. In addition, UPS is employing drones extensively for humanitarian aid, the company has partnered with different organizations to deliver blood and vaccines to hard-to-reach locations in Rwanda. UPS also uses drones to check inventory on the highest racks in its warehouses. Stay tuned to upsers.red for getting more updates about UPS.