UPS is also looking into getting flying robots to deliver packages, according to The Verge, along with Internet ecommerce giant Amazon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dominated the news cycle yesterday with the revelation that Amazon was working on drone delivery with 30-min. ship times, albeit for a few years out in a best case scenario, but UPS also now appears to be interested in replacing its reliable army of brown-shorted carriers with repurposed evil mindless deathbots.
UPS told the Verge that it finds the concept of commercial drone use “interesting,” and that it’ll continue to “evaluate” its usefulness for the parcel carrier. Big Brown also pointed out that it pours more money into R&D than any of its competitors in the delivery business, which, while not confirming it’s spending on drones specifically, definitely suggests that could be the case.
In addition to the official statement, Verge quotes multiple sources close to the company as confirming that it’s testing a number of different drone-based delivery programs. But unlike Amazon’s vision of a robot flying from a warehouse to your door with your order of Uranium ore, the UPS implementation could shore up something like delivery from the airport to the local storage warehouse or distribution center. That’s actually a vision that’s much more feasible in the near-term, so long as regulators can catch up and the FAA can establish some clear guidelines on the use of unmanned transport in domestic airspace.
Imagining a world where the freeways aren’t clogged with huge, noisy, loud, polluting transport trucks presents a tempting vision, especially for frequent commuters. But drones whirring between local sort facilities, central depots and airports, not to mention consumer doors and driveways, presents a possibility of a sky darkened by quad- and octocopters buzzing about their business.
The delivery drones will block out the sun, and all will be plunged into darkness. On the bright side, we’ll get our Kindles in record time.