UPS, one of the largest delivery companies in the World is experimenting with some new tech! They have successfully tested a UPS drone that takes off from the Van and returns to it after delivering. The really cool part is that the van does not need to remain stationary and can continue to its next destination.
The general concensus of opinion on drone delivery seems to be that it will remove a lot of jobs from the workplace. Although this is the route some companies seem to be heading towards, UPS, on the other hand, look to integrate drone with delivery driver and get double the workload whilst also relieving the driver.
Hypothetically this means the driver could cover double the distance and deliver twice the amount of parcels whilst doing this in the same amount of time as a standard delivery van.
UPS expect this new model of delivery to save them approximately $50M per annum. Couple this factor in with the reduced mileage of the van itself and you have a recipe for success!
Using a purposefully designed van that is a hybrid diesel/electric and incorporating a UAV delivery system on the roof, UPS said the University of Cincinnati developed it alongside the Ohio based Workhorse Group.
The full system is simplistically elegant in its design:
Step 1: Driver hops into the back and loads the correct parcel into the tray beneath the drone.
Step 2: Drone takes off when the driver is happy it is ready for initiating.
Step 3: Drone will head to delivery point autonomously then head back to the vans current location afterwards.
The drones themselves weigh in at under 10 pounds, can fly for up to 30 minutes and recharge when back in the van.
The test that UPS went through on the 20th Feb 2017 was carried out in a low population rural area of Tampa, Florida. All they are waiting on now is FAA approval to fully start a public rollout.