Earlier this week, UPS unveiled its plans for residential delivery drones. The parcel company successfully tested a drone that launches from the top of a delivery truck and autonomously navigates the skies for delivery.
The test, coming months after Amazon’s first drone delivery, took place on Monday in Florida with Ohio-based electric truck and drone developer Workhorse Group. Launching from the top of a truck, a drone autonomously delivered a package and returned to the truck at a different location.
The system consists of a heavily modified delivery truck designed to deploy drones with minimal human assistance. Packages are loaded onto a drone, a lid opens up, and the drone takes off for delivery. Albeit, UPS wants its human drivers in action; they’ll be available to load the drones, make deliveries by foot, and troubleshoot if anything should go south.
UPS boasts its drones can hoist 10-pound packages up to 30 minutes before needing to dock and recharge. For the initial test, UPS and Workhorse ran the drones on a pre-set route, but in the future, they plan to have routes determined by a propriety onboard navigation system.
TechCrunch attended the demo where UPS faced a drone landing snafu. Due to interference with its compass, the prototype octocopter flipped upside down during landing and was nearly crushed by the truck’s closing lid. Hopefully, UPS and Workhorse can work out the kinks before the service officially gets off the ground.