Inside UPS’s new plans for flying electric delivery vans

The Alia-250 eVTOL can hold around 1,400 pounds of cargo, part of a broader plan to reduce the company’s emissions footprint.

BY ADELE PETERS

As UPS begins to convert its fleet of trucks to electric vehicles, it’s also beginning to find new ways to shrink emissions from the airplanes that help it move packages around the country. That includes a plan to start using small electric planes that can take off and land vertically—essentially, flying electric delivery vans.

The company announced that it plans to buy new aircraft from Beta Technologies, a startup that makes a vehicle that takes off like a helicopter and then flies as far as 250 miles before recharging. “It’s an airplane that has a different set of skills,” says Beta founder Kyle Clark. “It can take off and land vertically, and it can fly without the dependence on fuel. Therefore it’s much less expensive to fly.”

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UPS orders 10,000 electric delivery trucks, plans driverless truck test

UPS orders 10,000 electric delivery trucks, plans test of self-driving vans

 ATLANTA – UPS ordered 10,000 electric delivery trucks from electric vehicle maker Arrival, in what it calls a move to accelerate electrification of the fleet.

It is the largest single order for electric vehicles from the shipping giant based in Sandy Springs.

The two companies are working together to develop electric vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems, including the potential for automated movement in UPS warehouses, technology that it will test starting this year.

UPS also announced that it is partnering with Waymo to test autonomous vehicle package pickups in the Phoenix area. UPS said Waymo’s Chrysler Pacific minivans will transport packages from UPS stores to a UPS sorting facility, with a driver on board to monitor operations. The technology allows the company to test subsequent pickups at UPS stores.

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NYC turns to electric cargo bikes to solve delivery truck crisis

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A new program in New York City will see electric cargo bikes promoted as a solution to the growing number of polluting and congesting delivery trucks throughout the city.

Now I love shopping on Amazon and other e-commerce sites as much as the next guy. But I also recognize that the huge shift towards online shopping has also prompted a drastic increase in the number of deliveries being made and thus delivery trucks clogging our streets and polluting our air.

And few know this problem as intimately as the residents of New York City. The already famously congested streets of the city can often be held hostage to delivery trucks unloading in bike lanes, sidewalks and anywhere else that will fit the massive trucks.

But a new program in the city will test out replacing those large delivery trucks with smaller, less intrusive electric cargo bikes. The electric cargo bikes, which will be operated by Amazon, UPS and DHL, can travel at city speeds yet take up much less room than conventional delivery trucks. And of course, they also result in zero emissions during use.

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UPS partners with CVS to develop drone delivery service for prescription drugs

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A UPS autonomous drone carries medical supplies.

UPS announces an agreement with CVS to develop a drone delivery service for prescription drugs.

UPS gets the first FAA approval to operate a drone delivery service earlier this month.

FedEx completes its first residential drone delivery under a pilot program last week.

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UPS just won FAA approval to fly as many delivery drones as it wants

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But don’t expect your next package delivery via drone

UPS announced that it has received government approval to operate a “drone airline.” Don’t expect your next package to arrive directly on your doorstep by a drone, though: UPS says it will first use this certification to build a drone delivery network for hospital campuses around the US. UPS said in July that it was seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the network, and today, it got just that.

Specifically, UPS’s drone delivery subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward, was granted a Part 135 Standard certification. Though drones might not seem like aircraft that need to be regulated like commercial airplanes do, the federal government evaluates them on similar footing. Drone delivery companies have to be certified by the FAA just like companies that fly planes.

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UPS and Latch are expanding in-building deliveries to 10 more cities

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After launching apparently successful pilot runs in San Francisco and New York, UPS announced today plans to expand its in-building delivery service to 10 additional U.S. cities. In mid-2019, the parcel service will be adding Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Miami and Seattle.

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Why UPS Finds Drones Interesting

 

The package delivery giant is testing drones for sending medical items to rural locations.

The United Parcel Service has high hopes for drones.

In late September, the package delivery giant and a drone startup, CyPhy Works, said they had successfully tested a drone delivery, in which a flying robot delivered an asthma inhaler to a children’s summer camp on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts.

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