United Parcel Service (UPS) is newest competitor in the race to unleash the first fleet of delivery drones. The firm began testing the use of drones this week with a focus of bringing packages to remote or difficult-to-access locations. A mock delivery of urgent medical supplies was delivered from Beverly, Massachusetts to Children's Island as a test, which is the first drone delivery to be made by a major delivery firm in the US. United Parcel Service (UPS) is newest competitor in the race to unleash the first fleet of delivery drones. UPS announced today that it has begun testing the use of drones to make commercial deliveries of packages to remote or difficult-to-access locations, working together with drone-maker CyPhy Works.
Last month, Griff Aviation, a Norwegian maker of drones, announced the arrival of the Griff 300, a drone that's an eight-propeller unmanned aviation vehicle (UAV) with serious strength. The Griff 300 gets its name from the number of kilos it can lift and carry. Converted to U.S. measurements, the drone can lift up to 660 pounds, including the drone's own 165-pound weight. The drone can then fly with its cargo for 45 minutes, according to Griff Aviation. This drone is a notable one.
Drones could be bringing parcels to your door within two years, thanks to a bill that left the Senate today. The bipartisan aviation policy bill, which passed the Senate 95-3 Tuesday, demands that the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) authorize package deliveries by drones within two years. The bill, which must now be debated by the House, also makes changes to various regulations including those affecting airport security and airplane pricing. It says that the agency must create a small drone'air carrier certificate' for operators of delivery drone fleets, similar to the safety certificates granted to commercial airlines. These rules are needed for Amazon and other companies to deploy fleets of delivery drones.
While Amazon and United Parcel Service pour considerable resources into finding ways of using drones to deliver such things as shoes and dog treats, Zipline has been saving lives in Rwanda since October 2016 with drones that deliver blood. Zipline's autonomous fixed-wing drones now form an integral part of Rwanda's medical-supply infrastructure, transporting blood products from a central distribution center to hospitals across the country. And in 2018, Zipline's East African operations will expand to include Tanzania, a much larger country.
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.