Workhorse Group is conducting autonomous drone package deliveries in real-world scenarios for homes in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, using a system that is integrated with its line of electric delivery trucks.
The Cincinnati-area drone deliveries are part of a pilot program with the City of Loveland and the FAA, according to a release from Workhorse. Consumers in select Cincinnati zip codes opted-in to accept packages from Horsefly via the Workhorse Ares Drone Package Delivery App, which integrates with existing online e-commerce platforms.
The service is designed in part to reduce the expense of last mile delivery, according to Workhorse. Each package in the system is delivered within the delivery driver's line of sight. Data from the pilot provides insight into consumer preferences, as well as real-world evidence to support expanded use cases with the FAA.
The HorseFly system complies with current FAA safety regulations for drone package delivery, and the system has been successfully tested with UPS and an undisclosed large retailer.
Here is how this autonomous drone delivery system works: The truck delivery driver loads the package and launches the HorseFly drone. The HorseFly drone autonomously launches from the roof of the delivery truck, gains altitude and proceeds to the delivery location, monitoring by a centralized Horsefly control center. The consumer can also monitor the progress of package delivery through the downloaded app, according to Workhorse.
Later, at the delivery location, which the consumer can choose on the app by touching the point on a map, the drone autonomously descends and the package is released. The consumer can opt-in to receive a photograph and confirmation of the delivery. The HorseFly drone returns to the delivery truck at a planned stop and autonomously redocks and recharges for its next delivery, according to Workhorse.