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UPS turns delivery truck into drone launcher

US-based postal service, UPS, has fitted out an electric truck with a drone launch pad to test drone-assisted delivery.

According to news service, CNET, the UPS drone trial was conducted in Tampa, Florida, which involved the a drone flying autonomously from the roof of one of the postal company’s delivery trucks, carrying a package to its nearby destination.

The drone was loaded with its cargo and exited the truck through a retractable roof. It then followed a predetermined autonomous route while the driver continued to another destination to make another delivery. The drone then found the truck at its new destination and docked itself back on its charging dock on the roof.

“We’re studying and understanding the opportunities that this will provide for us, so we will continue to look toward the future,” Mark Wallace, UPS Senior Vice President of Global Engineering And Sustainability told CNET. “It really moves us into understanding how the technology can assist our service providers. This will not replace our service providers.”

According to UPS, by cutting down on the number of stops needed by delivery trucks, the drone technology could help save time and fuel. The model is being considered for rural work, where delivery destinations are often spaced far apart.

In January, Mercedes-Benz had unveiled a concept vehicle following the same principle, the Vision Van. Watch UPS' take on the idea here:

 

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