What we expect is a honk in the driveway, you open up the doorway and a brown-clad delivery driver with the UPS logo on his clothes kindly meets you. You sign a paper, they hand you your package, and off they drive away in their dark brown truck.

In February the United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) announced that in not too distant future, small parcel shipments could be shipped by octocopter drones. If things go as planned, package shipping, or at least parcel deliveries, may be completed by an unmanned drone. How near are we to a drone based package shipping future? In this new era of parcel shipping technology, even automated drones for parcel shipping certainly isn’t just some dream, in fact, it’s basically here now.

UPS, as well as FedEx, DHL and other key competitors in the package carrier business are undoubtedly staying in touch with the new age of parcel shipping technology. UPS tried the next step for package shipping service and launched a drone from one of their vans. After successfully delivering a small package, the drone travelled back to the UPS van which was 2000 feet further away from where it launched.

UPS used this parcel delivery by drone to determine how successfully parcel shipping costs and parcel delivery expenses can be minimized for tough delivery zones. Through a drone, they can save fuel and labor expenses used by regular parcel delivery trucks. In a quick look, this mode of parcel delivery will benefit parcel carriers, package shipping companies, and even the e-commerce shipping industry.

The primary purpose of drone tests is to aid UPS drivers with package shipping when it’s needed, and while the successful drone shipping tests could mean a profitable future for UPS package shipping services, they won’t supplant traditional delivery drivers. The real ability of drones to reduce UPS driver’s mileage hasn’t been effectively tested yet.

By testing drone deliveries UPS is showing they’re serious about changing small package shipping service in the long run. There are laws keeping drone delivery from being the norm for parcel shipping, and that’s once UPS makes major changes to small parcel shipping logistics management. Current regulations in the United States won’t permit drone flights over people or areas out of view for the drone operator. With the present 200 feet altitude of UPS package shipping drones, deliveries would be impossible for the time being. The Federal Aviation Administration’s guidelines have been delayed due to security considerations, but they were supposed to be introduced by the end of last year. The very earliest we could begin seeing routine operations with delivery drones won’t be until later on this year.

Workhorse Group Inc. which makes the electric parcel delivery trucks for UPS is helping to build a rolling warehouse system where a drone can be launched from a UPS truck and fly at an altitude of around 200 feet and drop off the package at the destination. The drone will then return to the truck after it drops the package.

The drone can transport packages up to 10-pounds and the driver can use a street view map to figure out the exact location of the area where the package will be delivered. For security reasons, with drone-delivered parcel shipping, packages of all sizes aren’t going to fly under buildings and the package must be left a few feet from the front door.

Further package shipping drone tests are being conducted by UPS currently.

Comments are closed.