UPS, the largest package delivery company in the world, used a drone to deliver a parcel in Florida Tuesday.
Amazon has been testing its drone technology in the United Kingdom in order to implement the flying machines into its supply chain processes. Amazon chose to experiment with its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the U.K. and not the U.S. because of fewer regulations. Several policy analysts who study UAVs and the policy implications surrounding them told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Federal Aviation Administration’s burdensome rules are mainly to blame.
UPS’s drone is mounted on top of a delivery truck with a hatch underneath that allows the driver to attach the package while remaining inside the vehicle. After the drone is equipped with the parcel, the roof of the truck shifts to expose the landing and launching dock. The operator then presses a button on a separate device which sends the UAV off to its destination without any further human direction, according to Recode.
While the drone was delivering its package, the driver drove to another location to deliver a separate piece of mail.
“This technology could save time and reduce costly miles driven,” a caption in the video reads, while it maps out the drone and the driver simultaneously traveling in different directions. “Especially in rural areas, where delivery stops are further away.”
The drone autonomously returns to its location, and anchors itself to the top of the truck where it charges and awaits further missions.
“Today was a test. Tomorrow…we deliver,” the video concludes.
The FAA made it illegal to fly a drone beyond the visual line of sight –one of the main reasons why many businesses are testing their UAV technology overseas–so UPS likely had someone watch over the drone to make sure it completed the delivery safely and compliantly.
DHL, one of UPS’s main competitors in package delivery services, has been testing UAVs for quite some time.
Google parent company Alphabet teamed up with Virginia Tech and Chipotle last year to deliver burritos and other Tex-Mex fare to students on campus.
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