UPS drivers may tag team deliveries with drones
The delivery giant tested drone delivery Monday in Florida, offering a reminder of UPS’
interest in using new technologies to improve deliveries.
UPS used a new electric delivery truck with a drone launch pad atop it. Inside the truck, a
driver loads a package into the drone’s cargo bin. Then a section of the truck’s roof slides
backwards, so that the drone can take off.
After the drone lifts off, the human drives away to deliver a separate package. Then the drone
and truck rendezvous at another location, where the drone is loaded with a fresh package. If
implemented, that cycle could continue for a driver’s entire shift, allowing UPS to deliver
packages more efficiently and save on fuel.
The gains would be especially significant in rural areas, where deliveries are more spread out.
If every UPS driver had to cover one less mile per day, the company said it would save up to $50 million per year.
Between flights, the drone would recharge its battery while docked in the UPS truck. (Its battery lasts for 30 minutes.) The drone UPS tested was capable of carrying packages up to 10
pounds. The drone is big enough to roughly fit in the trunk of a sedan.
There are no guarantees UPS will ever deliver an actual package with a drone. John Dodero, UPS’ vice president of industrial engineering, told CNNTech it depends on whether
automated drones could deliver safely. So far, that’s an open question.
Article courtesy of Matt McFarland