Source: Flight Foward

UPS launches new drone technology for speedier, heavier deliveries

UPS is a powerhouse when it comes to powering innovation in logistics and the supply chain.

The delivery company has always tried to go the extra mile when it comes to meeting the needs of customers for delivery, and now it’s taking things further skywards through its subsidiary UPS Flight Forward.

The logistics specialist’s work in drone deliveries has been made possible by negotiating permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to host unlimited drone airline capabilities. This means their cargo can even operate at night and carry over 55 pounds in weight.

Since getting that regulatory win, the sky has been the limit for UPS’ drone delivery plans.

Towards the end of last year, Flight Forward teamed up with CVS Pharmacy to deliver medicines in the US, from drugstore-to-home. Although it was merely a trial, the project proved that drones hold a lot of potential in delivering important necessities from order quickly, within the same day.

And then, in January 2020, the company launched autonomous vehicle capabilities and even more drone trial projects in a bid to improve its operational efficiency and logistics competency.

Now, Flight Forward is pushing its innovation efforts forward with its latest, next-generation fleet of drones that will not only operate in the US, but also in foreign skies.

In collaboration with Wingcopter, a German drone manufacturer, UPS’s new aircraft technology will be able to take off vertically and land in narrow areas.

Aiming to be a leader in drone deliveries, UPS is keen to trial its latest fleet in new business use-cases. This will not only help push the drone technology market maturity, but it will also fast-track the application of drones in last-mile delivery services.

What motivated this company to continue to innovate with the technology is that you need different types of drones for different scenarios; “drone delivery is not a one-size-fits-all operation,” said UPS Advanced Technology Group Vice President, Bala Ganesh.

These new drones will be able to travel at the high speed of 150 mph, for 75 miles. Essentially, what it means is that the technology will be able to carry heavier loads in a shorter time, something UPS’s previous drones were not designed to do.

The partnership will be focusing on heavy-haul vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Such a project is particularly important as customers have needs that are different from one another yet the need to speedy delivery remains key for all.

Not to mention, the surge in the global e-commerce market is also driving the company’s drone delivery efforts as various logistics and supply chain services have to be slowed down due to the pandemic.

Drones are seemingly a great replacement in the current market climate as human-to-human contact can be taken out of the logistics equation. This new capability will truly highlight UPS’s unique logistics capacity and boost its customers’ experience.