UPS tests day-to-day drone delivery

In a test Monday a drone autonomously flew out of a UPS truck's roof to deliver a package.                  UPS

The drone delivery took place this Monday in Lithia, Florida.

UPS announced the tests Tuesday morning at an investors meeting.

For this test, Workhorse preset the route for the drone.

On today's podcast, we delve into UPS' test of a drone built into a delivery truck.

The UPS drone and truck were developed by Workhorse, a Cincinnati company that's supplied UPS with several hundred electric delivery trucks. The delivery process is controlled in part by a GPS navigation system.

The drones are being tested with hopes of streamlining routes and increasing efficiency. John Dodero, UPS' vice president of industrial engineering, told CNNTech it depends on whether automated drones could deliver safely. "Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles apart by road", Wallace explained.

UPS says that shaving off just one mile for each of its 66,000 drivers a day could save the company up to $50 million a year. Using a drone to deliver one package as the driver delivers another would reduce travel time and emissions. Deliveries to homes in rural areas also require more gasoline to complete the delivery.

UPS has successfully tested a car-based drone, the parcel service says. When the drone is docked, it's charging up to make a quick jaunt from the truck on the street to the customer's front door.

The 18-pound drone has a 30-minute flight time and can carry a package weighing up to 10 pounds.

Everybody knows by now that the delivery drone ambitions of companies like FedEx and UPS amount to marketing stunts.

"Last year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued small unmanned aircraft systems rules that allow for some commercial use of drones and paved the way for future expanded applications", the release said. UPS was one of 35 selected from a cross section of key stakeholders to serve on the FAA's drone advisory committee.

To be clear, we're not now facing a UPS drone invasion with many multiples of autonomous flying machines attacking the USA.

The truck driver and the drone, an octocopter, shared the work.

When it comes to concerns about air safety, UPS executives point out that UPS is equally concerned since they operate one of the large cargo airlines in the world, UPS Airlines headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

UPS already uses drones (see below photo) to deliver blood and vaccines in Rwanda "many times a day", Abney said. Last September, UPS staged a mock delivery of urgently needed medicine from Beverly, Mass.to an island three miles off the Atlantic coast.

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