UPS is testing their ability to deliver packages via drone aircraft like Amazon did recently with their first successful delivery to a customer in Cambridge, England. Near Tampa, Florida UPS launched their octocopter package drone from the top of one of their hybrid electric delivery vans.
The autonomous drone carried a package, left it safely at the delivery site and returned to land on top of the van it took off from which had moved to a different location. This demonstrated UPS’s idea of having the drone make deliveries while the truck it launched from continued making other deliveries.
During part of the demonstration for the media the UPS drone had an issue taking off and appears to have been ‘crunched’ by the truck roof cover closing on it.
Watch: UPS Drone Test (The ‘fail’ takes place at the 2:30 mark in the video)
In Monday’s test, a drone launched from the roof of a UPS vehicle flew autonomously toward its destination, dropped a package and then returned to the vehicle as the driver continued on a delivery route.
“We see this as an exploration into this new technology,” John Dodero, vice president of industrial engineering at UPS, said ahead of the test. – Reuters
UPS is hoping that drone technology can help them offset rising costs of delivery citing that with ecommerce sales becoming more and more popular it hurts their margins. It costs UPS more to deliver individual packages to residential customers compared with businesses which usually consist of multiple packages being delivered to one location.
Featured image of a UPS drone taking off from the top of a UPS truck during testing in Lithia, Florida, February 20, 2017 photo by Reuters/Scott Audette