Workhorse Group Inc. has announced that its HorseFly truck-launched drone delivery system is now making real-life package deliveries to homes in the Cincinnati area through a pilot program with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the City of Loveland, Ohio.
The HorseFly system is a custom-built delivery unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is fully integrated with the Workhorse line of electric delivery trucks. The system is designed to significantly lower the expense of last-mile delivery, says Workhorse.
According to the company, consumers in the pilot program opted in to accept packages from Horsefly via the Workhorse Ares Drone Package Delivery App, which is designed to integrate with existing online e-commerce platforms.
Workhorse says its system complies with current FAA safety regulations for drone package delivery: Currently, each package is delivered within the delivery driver’s line of sight. Through the pilot program, data will provide insights into consumer preferences, as well as real-world evidence to support expanded use cases with the FAA. To date, the system has been successfully tested with UPS and an undisclosed large retailer.
The system functions as follows:
- The truck delivery driver loads the package.
- The UAV autonomously launches from the roof of the delivery truck, gains altitude and proceeds to the delivery location while being monitored by a centralized Horsefly control center. Consumers can also monitor the progress of their package delivery through the app.
- At the delivery location – which consumers can choose on the app by touching a point on a map – the drone autonomously descends, and the package is released. Consumers can opt in to receive a photograph and confirmation of their delivery.
- The HorseFly drone returns to the delivery truck at a planned stop and autonomously redocks and recharges for its next delivery.
“We feel this is a game-changing moment to innovate the way packages are delivered for many years to come,” states Steve Burns, Workhorse’s 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 reimagined home delivery.”