Amazon, Walmart, and UPS are all testing and developing drones to deliver packages with. While Amazon would love to make quick deliveries through drones, they’ve faced the problems of not having enough launch locations near customers. Walmart has thousands of locations that they can launch from. UPS is a unique position to use their delivery trucks as mobile drone carriers. The idea would lower delivery times, increase productivity, and mean less travel for UPS trucks.
It’s not surprising UPS is experimenting with drones. In Tampa, Florida in conjunction with the Workhorse Group, the company had a live demo of their delivery drone system. The Workhorse HorseFly (a terrible name) is an octocopter that lowers into the truck.
The Workhorse HorseFly drone can deliver 10lbs packages
According to UPS, the HorseFly has a travel time of 30-minutes and can carry packages weighing up to 10 pounds. The company believes the drone will help lower cost and prevent unnecessary travel of their drivers.
“Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles apart by road. Sending a drone from a package car to make just one of those deliveries can reduce costly miles driven. This is a big step toward bolstering efficiency in our network and reducing our emissions at the same time.”
The HorseFly lowers into the truck where the driver can attach the package easily. There’s a touch screen to send it off on its route. The drone will deliver packages while the truck is still moving and making other delivers. It’ll make for an incredibly efficient model if it can work at scale. They managed to make a live demo happen, but not without a little hiccup. The drone got caught on the truck at first, but after the minor mishap, it was smooth sailing.
The drone system won’t work in urban environments, but in rural and suburban areas it could help improve UPS service quality. Tell us your thoughts! What do you think about the UPS drone HorseFly?