Following in the footsteps of Amazon, UPS may start using a drone delivery service to ensure packages get to your doorstep. The company is testing a drone delivery platform currently that is truck-based, working together with Workhorse Group; an organization that specializes in battery-electric trucks and drones. For UPS’ pilot drone program, Workhorse has developed both the drone and truck for the system.
MSN reported that the idea behind the initiative is for the company to increase efficiency when it comes to deliveries in rural areas; a single and quick drop off may be a lot easier than a truck driving miles to deliver one package. Therefore, the drone would simply travel those miles when a truck was in the area, saving time and money on all fronts and allowing the truck to continue on route with its deliveries, without going out of its way.
More interesting than the reasoning behind the new platform is how it works: the drone would be released from the top of a UPS truck, where the driver would be responsible for attaching the parcels at a loading dock that is mounted on the roof. The deliveries would be loaded in a cage and with a press of a button, the drone would take off on its predetermined destination point. The drone has the ability to carry up to ten pounds for about half an hour each time.
This isn’t the first time UPS has dived into the world of drones. In 2016, the company tested this type of delivery that required medicine to be dropped off ‘urgently’ (for the test) to an island located off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. UPS also used this technology when it came to delivering vaccines and blood to Rwanda.
According to the company, one mile each day saved for drivers can equal out to about $50 million. That’s a significant amount of money to ponder a change in process alone. Still, through this drone initiative, the company could save revenue without having to decrease drivers’ numbers … which would mean that this automation would actually save jobs for once, instead of eliminating them!