The delivery giant tested drone delivery Monday in Florida, offering a reminder of UPS' interest in using new technologies to improve deliveries. The footage shows a drone delivering a package and then returning to a UPS truck.
"This test is different than anything we've done with drones so far".
Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles apart by road, he said. And delivery companies around the world are trying to reduce the cost of last-mile trips with drones. "This is a big step toward bolstering efficiency in our network and reducing our emissions at the same time". The company said a reduction of one mile per driver per day over a one-year period can save the company up to $50 million. The company operates more than 100,000 road vehicles, according to its website. Rural delivery routes are the most expensive to serve due to the time and vehicle expenses required to complete each delivery. That's because UPS may send your package via drone.
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Currently, the technology still in the testing phase and UPS doesn't have an exact timeline for its introduction into service, Wallace said. Meanwhile the driver was able to take on a separate delivery route. The drone dropped off a package at a home on the property, and returned to the truck, which had moved about 2,000 feet. Inside the truck, a driver loads a package into the drone's cargo bin.
Both the drone industry and federal regulators are years away from actual legal drone deliveries in the United States.
The drone recharges while docked and can fly for 30 minutes at a time before needing to recharge. ABC Action News was allowed to view the drone in action on Monday in Lithia with the promise to wait until investors were notified of the successful tests before reporting. But in the future, routes could be determined by UPS's On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION), which is the company's proprietary routing software.
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"If you could give the ones to the left to the bird, and it could go do that while you're doing three to the right, that's the goal", explained Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse Drones. It doesn't require a pilot.
Last September, UPS staged a mock delivery of urgently needed medicine from Beverly, Mass., to an island 3 miles off the Atlantic coast. Have a peek at the timeline below for additional instances of UPS pushing into the future with drone deliveries.
The company also now uses drones to check inventory on high storage shelves in its warehouses, which is already legal to do.
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"As those types of standards are established - and met - then greater access will be allowed", offered Capt. Houston Mills of the FAA Drone Advisory Committee.