Delivery giant UPS and drone manufacturer CyPhy Works have started testing a CyPhy hexacopter to deliver packages to remote locations. The companies have conducted a mock delivery of urgently needed medicine from Beverly, Mass., to Children’s Island, three miles off the Massachusetts coast.
UPS is not new to the drone industry; the Atlanta-based logistics concern acknowledged last year that it was testing drones to monitor stock in its warehouse facilities. UPS also participated in a multi-state study of using drones for humanitarian missions that was conducted by drone services company Measure on behalf of the American Red Cross. Next month, it will begin flying medical supplies by drone in Rwanda in a partnership with drone company Zipline and Gavi The Vaccine Alliance. Testers deployed a CyPhy Works’ Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) hexacopter to deliver an asthma inhaler to a YMCA camp on the island, which cannot be reached by automobile. They flew the PARC on battery power; it can also operate for days at a time when connected to a powered tether.
Greiner, CyPhy Works’ chief technology officer, said regarding the tests that:
“We’re thrilled to partner with UPS in this endeavor. Drone technology used in this way can save lives and deliver products and services to places that are difficult to reach by traditional transit infrastructures.”
Separate from the UPS testing, the “X” research laboratory formerly known as Google[x] is testing food deliveries by drone at Virginia Tech university in Blacksburg, Va. Those tests, conducted with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, are using a prototype of the vertical takeoff and landing Project Wing fixed-wing drone.