Amazon may have captured headlines this week with their drone delivery service but they aren’t the only ones exploring the use of autonomous vehicles to help get packages to customers. The world’s largest parcel service, UPS, is also reportedly experimenting with air delivery according to sources familiar with the plans as reported by The Verge.
UPS isn’t just copying Amazon’s idea, either. Sources claim the courier has been evaluating and testing different drone delivery services prior to Sunday’s unveiling. When asked to comment on the matter, a UPS spokesperson said the commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and they will continue to evaluate it.
It should really come as no surprise that companies like Amazon and UPS are looking into alternate deliver methods. Ryan Calo, a law professor that specializes in drones and robotics, correctly highlighted the fact that if you want to compete in logistics and delivery, drones and unmanned robots have to be part of the conversation with regards to where things are headed.
How exactly UPS might use drones, however, remains to be seen. They could be used in the same context as Amazon Prime Air to deliver packages directly to a customer’s house or even put into use to move packages around sorting facilities before they head out on delivery trucks.
It’s unclear if UPS’ drone solution would be ready anytime soon or if it will be several years before something takes shape. Either way, it's good to see others showing interest in the field.