On Monday, a UPS drone buzzed over fields in Lithia, Florida, to deliver a test package to a rural home. It was launched from the roof of a modified UPS truck and automatically returned to the vehicle after making its drop-off. The idea is that the driver can continue along his or her route while the drone makes a delivery that would otherwise be out of the way. "Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles apart by road. Sending a drone from a package car to make just one of those deliveries can reduce costly miles driven," said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering, in a press release on Tuesday.
Amazon is reportedly working on an app that will match truck drivers with shippers to help deliver packages faster, according to a report from Business Insider. According to the report, which cites an unnamed source that Business Insider qualifies as having direct knowledge of the matter, the app is expected to make it easier for drivers to find people with packages that need to be moved in a fashion similar to how Uber connects drivers with riders. The app will reportedly display real-time pricing, plus driving directions and recommendations for for truck stops and personalized routes that includes truck stops and loads for pickup and drop off. The report also speculates the app might display tracking information and payment options to expedite the shipping process. Amazon has long been rumored to be interested in developing a crowdsourced approach to shipping, but the rumored app would be its biggest move into the field, which is largely dominated by third-party companies that often charge commissions of up to 15 percent for acting as middlemen in the process.
Drone delivery is expected to take off big time in the next few years. Chinese online retailer JD.com has already launched drone delivery in four provinces in China, while DHL and Zipline are delivering medicines with drones in rural and hard-to-reach areas. Amazon, Google, and UPS are all working on getting drone delivery service off the ground.
Tue 13 Feb 2018 11.00 EST Last modified on Tue 13 Feb 2018 11.01 EST Drones invoke varying perceptions, from fun gadget to fly in the park to deadly military weapons. In the future, they may even be viewed as a handy tool in the battle to fight climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions from the tra...