UPS also researching the use of unmanned drones for package delivery

By on December 4, 2013, 10:00 AM
amazon, ups, drone, amazon prime air, drone delivery, autonomous vehicle

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.




User Comments: 16

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GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

I have a feeling this is going to be a fun experiment, I really want to see a drone deliver a Graphics card to my front door!

bob333 bob333 said:

Oh great, now we have dodge these flying things or prepare ourselves to beheaded.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

This is for nothing more than Public Relations.

Neither company will implement this, every state has different laws about drones, there are privacy issues, gust of wind/rain/snow/cold issues, theft issues, damage to the unit issues, damage to personal property issues and more.

The more you talk about it, the more their Public Relations wins. Smart idea, I'd tip my hat to that.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I don't think it would be practical or efficient for each company to home deliver their products with drones. Amazon is not really in the delivery business. Amazon would probably be better off doing what they do and letting UPS, FEDEX etc. worry about drone home delivery. They seem much better setup for it and it also seems a natural evolution of their business model.

Guest said:

"It can't be done! It can't be done!"

Yeah ok

1 person liked this | Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I'd love to see some drone on drone combat.

cartera said:

I'd love to see some drone on drone combat.

I am glad I wasn't the only one thinking of taking one out with a battle modded Parrot AR drone

As to all the it's not viable etc. travel back in time 400 years and discus space travel with your new peers - you will fit right in!

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'd love to see some drone on drone combat.
If drones ever get to the point of what we currently see as entertaining in combat, I highly doubt at that time you will find it entertaining. I never want to see drone combat!

Forg0t2 said:

These technological ideas are great but it will take at least 5 years before it is watertight to all the issues people can sum up and before it is accepted by consumers... This is practically the same as Autonomous driving vehicles. The technology started like 10 years maybe even more years ago but was never implemented because of consumer acceptance. Nowadays a lot of the technology is already implemented in smaller parts in vehicles (e.g. City safety from Volvo) and the consumer is now accepting these technological ideas more than when it started. Soon companies like volvo are implementing full autonomous driving vehicles to the market while being accepted. The same will happen for these unmanned delivery bots...

cartera said:

If drones ever get to the point of what we currently see as entertaining in combat, I highly doubt at that time you will find it entertaining. I never want to see drone combat!

You don't want to see a grumpy UPS Drone becoming late for his next delivery?

killeriii said:

Never gonna happen...

Although, would be great target practice.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guess people should start wearing protective head gear... I can foresee lawsuits over this

Guest said:

Guess people should start wearing protective head gear... I can foresee lawsuits over this

Exactly! I can't wait for the first lawsuit to be filed when one of these things goes down and hits someone, or cause a 20 car pile up when it crashes onto a freeway.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guess people should start wearing protective head gear... I can foresee lawsuits over this
People will make lawsuits for any reason. Why should this be any different?

Here is a few examples:

  • Customer sues because coffee was sold hot, and they burned them self, when they irresponsibly spilled the cup.
  • Customer sues because their child chokes on an object, that wasn't labeled "not safe for age group".
  • Burglar sues for being shot in the house they are robbing.
  • Company sues for damages over verbal comments.

I'm sure there will be a few id-iots want to derail this project for a quick buck. It has been our way of life for longer than I have been alive.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

People will make lawsuits for any reason. Why should this be any different?

Here is a few examples:

  • Customer sues because coffee was sold hot, and they burned them self, when they irresponsibly spilled the cup.
  • Customer sues because their child chokes on an object, that wasn't labeled "not safe for age group".
  • Burglar sues for being shot in the house they are robbing.
  • Company sues for damages over verbal comments.

I'm sure there will be a few id-iots want to derail this project for a quick buck. It has been our way of life for longer than I have been alive.

But majority of those suits are moronic. If a drone is carrying a package and by accident the package falls on top of your head and injures you, then that makes more of a valid case then some of the examples you have listed. But yes, people do sue for anything and everything.

Anyway this system looks highly inefficient to me and not exactly cost effective. Obviously it will take time before it's all polished out.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If a drone is carrying a package and by accident the package falls on top of your head and injures you, then that makes more of a valid case
Somehow, I doubt that will be an issue. If they are moronic enough to send out a technology that will drop packages, they will deserve any lawsuits they encounter.

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