UPS (United Parcel Service) is the latest major company to test out drones. According to the Associated Press on Thursday, UPS tested drones as a potential delivery service aid. Drones have already changed the entertainment industry and this summer we saw a drone change law enforcement after one rigged with a bomb killed a suspect in Dallas.
UPS, in conjunction with drone-maker CyPhy Works, tested the drone. It made a three mile flight from Marblehead, Mass. over the Atlantic Ocean to Children's Island. The drone delivered an inhaler for the mock situation. UPS said drones wouldn’t replace normal delivery services, only being called upon for "urgent situations" in which a package needs to be delivered to "remote or difficult-to-access locations" like Children's Island, unreachable by car.
"Our focus is on real-world applications that benefit our customers," said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability. "We think drones offer a great solution to deliver to hard-to-reach locations in urgent situations where other modes of transportation are not readily available."
UPS said the CyPhy drone used was the PARC (Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications) system. The battery-powered PARC is has night vision, reportedly cannot be "intercepted or disrupted," and flies itself.
As the AP noted, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn't allow drones to fly without being visible to drone operators. It also doesn't allow commercial drones to fly over people "not involved in their operations." Any FAA law changes would mean good news for UPS and other companies like Amazon which have invested in drones.