Workhorse Group’s Horsefly autonomous drone delivery system was one of the original testing drones that debuted in a pilot program from UPS a little more than one year ago.
Now the company is starting another real-life package delivery system in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area in association with the city of Loveland, Ohio, and the FAA. Consumers will be able to opt in to accept packages from the Horsefly drone, which will be designed to seamlessly integrate with existing online e-commerce platforms.
Workhorse said the HorseFly drone complies with current FAA safety regulations for drone package delivery, with each package delivered in the delivery driver’s line of sight. Data from the pilot will provide insight into consumer preferences as well as real-world evidence to support use cases with the FAA.
"We feel this is a game-changing moment to innovate the way packages are delivered for many years to come," said Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO. "By not only reducing the expense of last mile delivery, but also providing the consumer with the ability to opt-in, visualize, and confirm their package delivery on their property, we have re-imagined home delivery."
The goal is to increase the efficiency and lower the expense of last mile delivery as the drones will be launched via a delivery truck where the driver will load the package onto the drone and launch it. The HorseFly drone will then autonomously launch from the roof of the delivery truck and proceed to the destination, monitored by a control center. Customers can also monitor the progress of the package via a downloaded app. At the delivery location, consumers can choose on the app by touching the point on a map where the drone descends and the package is released. Consumers can also opt to receive a photo and confirmation of delivery. The drone then returns to the delivery truck and recharges for next delivery.
Over the past year or so, the testing of drones used for delivery has intensified including Airbus testing a cargo program in Singapore, Matternet’s Swiss delivery drone system for medical supplies, a food delivery service in Iceland from Flytrex and AHA, medical delivery via drone in Tanzania from Zipline, parcel delivery by ZTO Express in China, beverage delivery at Estonia public beaches by Cleveron and even hot dog delivery by an Oscar Mayer Wienerdrone.