UPS unveils drone delivery capabilities

By UAS Magazine Staff | October 24, 2016

UPS believes the future of customer service and urgent package delivery is linked to drone-based systems. In late September, UPS performed a package delivery demonstration that included a Massachusetts-based unmanned aircraft systems developer, a mock canister containing an inhaler and an island off the coast of Massachusetts.

CyPhy provided its Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications system to UPS to fly from the community of Beverly to Children’s Island—a children’s camp not accessible by automobile.

Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability, said the successful exercise revealed a bridge to the future of UPS. “Our focus is on real-world applications that benefit our customers,” he said. “We think drones offer a great solution to deliver to hard-to-reach locations in urgent situations where other modes of transportation are not readily available.”

The platform used in the three-mile delivery was battery-powered, capable of autonomous flight, built to be durable, capable of night vision flights and outfitted with secure communications that cannot be intercepted or disrupted, according to CyPhy.

CyPhy has created several unique robotic-based technologies, ranging from unmanned vacuums to tethered drones to the PARC system.

Earlier this year, Flirtey—a drone developer also working on cargo delivery—performed a medical delivery flight demonstration in New Jersey.