Drones have been used to do filming and aerial photography, however, the idea of utilising drones to deliver packages also isn’t a new one, considering the fact that Amazon has been testing out such a system via its Prime Air initiative for a while now. However, Amazon isn’t alone in this endeavour as logistics company UPS has begun testing its own drone delivery system.
Unlike Amazon’s method of deploying drones directly from one of its many warehouses, UPS is looking to deploy its drones from a delivery truck instead. According to a report by The Verge, UPS has hired a company called Workhorse to develop the delivery truck and the drone that will be used for the system.
The way the system works is rather straightforward. The driver of UPS would drive the delivery truck to a place that is near to the delivery location. Once there, the driver would load the drone up with the correct packages.
After all the packages are loaded, the driver would open the slidable roof of the truck, after which the drone would depart towards the delivery location. Once the delivery is completed, the drone would automatically fly back towards the truck.
So far, two tests have been conducted using this particular drone delivery system. The first test was a success as the drone managed to deliver the package and return to its delivery truck without any incident. Unfortunately, the second test did not go quite as well, as suspected interference from the cameras of reporters that were at the test was said to have affected the drone’s compass.
This interference caused the drone to abort its launch and was nearly crushed by the closing roof of the truck due to a failed landing.
Not surprisingly, UPS would not be deploying this drone-delivery system anytime soon. Aside from the technical problems that the company needs to solve, the United States Federal Aviation Administration does have a strict rule regarding drones. More specifically, the FAA requires that the drones remain within the operator’s line of sight.
Nevertheless, with ever advancing technology and changing regulations, the future of a drone-based logistics system is not too far away.