Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UPS tests drone deliveries in rural areas

A drone beginning a delivery from a UPS truck
(Reuters photo by Scott Audette)
United Parcel Service tested delivery via drones on rural routes this week, Elizabeth Weise reports for USA Today. UPS's senior vice president for global engineering and sustainability at UPS, Mark Wallace, told Weise, "While the drone is making its delivery, the driver would continue to the next stop, make another delivery by hand, and the drone would then rendezvous and recharge on top of the UPS package car."

If successful, drones could cut costs for UPS in rural areas, which are the company's most expensive routes, largely because of the extra miles driven and the added time to complete deliveries, Weise writes. The company estimates that reducing driving distance "by just one mile per driver per day over one year could save the company up to $50 million."

But don't expect to get a delivery by drone any time soon, Luciana Lopez reports for Reuters. John Dodero, vice president of industrial engineering at UPS, said the company "has no timeline for when drones might be put into wider use, partly because federal authorities are still developing regulations on how to use the technology." The USA Today story says drone deliveries are still "years away."

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