The latest ambition of the logistics juggernaut is to spare its trucks from so many miles and use a drone system instead. At the beginning of this week, UPS took its new toy to a driving test. With such a high demand for parcel delivery, the company has to find new ways to create competitive advantages. UPS has many market rivals such as FedEx, the United States Postal Service, Canada Post, Royal Mail, and many others. With this new mission, UPS promises a cheaper and environmentally friendly service.
On Monday, UPS took its new delivery system for a driving test. The company used an octocopter drone to deliver a parcel directly to the door of the receiver and traveled a distance of 2,000 feet. The launch was performed from the top of a delivery. The same vehicle received the drone on its way back and used robotic arms to dock it on its roof.
The test drone was created by Workhorse Group Inc. from Ohio which is a technology supplier owned by UPS. The startup specialized in building products such as trucks and batteries based on clean energy. It also has vast expertise in the aerospace technology. At this moment, the logistics company has already purchased 350 of its hybrid trucks. Out of these, 125 are already delivering parcels to customers on a daily basis. The same startup was employed to make the UPS drone, as it is specially created to fit perfectly with their trucks.
Once it is docked, the drone starts recharging its batteries by connecting its arms to the truck’s source of energy. It will also receive a cage from a hatch through the roof which possesses its next delivery parcel. However, this will not remain the same in the future. John Dodero, the UPS Vice President of Engineering, plans to make the drones and their docking system work for any type of cars, be it a hybrid, electric or gas-powered.
The test drive took place in a farmhouse near Tampa, Florida. It was a way to demonstrate how deliveries can reach rural areas without so many expenses. Usually, the urban regions are hard to reach for an urban delivery system. The distances are too long which result in more costly missions. With the new drone system in place, all trucks can cover smaller courses. The calculations say that if all UPS vehicles travel one mile less per day, by the end of the year, the company would have spared $50 million.
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