Don't look now, but Canada might just join the likes of France and the UK in ushering in the courier drone era. Transport Canada has approved its first drone test range near the tiny village of Foremost, Alberta, clearing the way for Drone Delivery Canada to launch a robotic cargo service as soon as late 2017. The roughly 927 square miles will help DDC prove that its drones can haul goods across long distances using satellite guidance. Tests with the company's early partners should start sometime in the first quarter of the year. The drone delivery system could be more important for Canada than it would be for other nations.
Amazon apparently won't be the only company offering drone delivery service: The United Postal Service could follow suit. UPS announced Tuesday it had successfully tested out a drone for residential delivery, a press release said. The company worked with Workhorse Group, a manufacturing company that created both the drone and the electric UPS car used to test the flight. The test drone successfully flew to its designated location, dropped off the package and then proceeded on its delivery route. The drone tested could carry up to 10 pounds.
Delivery drones have more than a few challenges, not the least of which is dropping off the package in a convenient place. Do you really want to head out to your yard to collect a box? You might not have to. Advanced Tactics has successfully tested delivery with a drone, the Panther sUAS Air/Ground Robot, that can both fly and drive up to your door. When it's too dangerous or costly to travel by air, the machine just has to touch down and wheel its way to its destination.
The future arrived on Monday, wrapped in a tortilla. Chipotle burritos were delivered via drone to waiting Virginia Tech students in the first of a series of tests that could be giving foodies a taste of things to come. The drone delivery arrived just before 1 p.m., according to Roanoke Times journalist Jacob Demmett, who managed to capture the landmark moment on video. The flying burrito tests were not open to the public, presumedly so the recipients wouldn't have to share their bounty with other hungry students. The burrito drone descended to about 10 feet over a grass patch before lowering a large white package to the ground on a string.
You don't have to wait for food delivery drones... if you live in the right part of China. Alibaba's online meal giant Ele.me has been cleared to use drones for delivering orders in Shanghai's Jinshan Industrial Park. The initiative won't deliver directly to your abode, but it will save you a lot of travel time: there are 17 routes, each of with two fixed drop-off points. Your food should arrive within 20 minutes, which isn't always possible with conventional cars slogging through traffic. Despite the automation, Ele.me believes this could be better for drivers.