The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a patent, No. 9,915,956, for Ohio-based Workhorse Group’s HorseFly drone delivery system.
The HorseFly system is a custom-built delivery unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is fully integrated with Workhorse’s line of electric/hybrid delivery trucks. Notably, the system is designed so that a driver or driver’s assistant can maintain line-of-sight operations of the delivery process, thus conforming to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulation.
According to the USPTO, the patent covers “package delivery by means of an automated multi-copter UAS/UAV dispatched from a conventional delivery vehicle.”
“We feel that the patented HorseFly truck-launched drone package delivery system is the first major change to the last-mile delivery process since the invention of the package delivery truck. Drivers appreciate the fact that the HorseFly system is fast, reliable and efficient,” comments Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO.
Designed to assist the delivery driver, the HorseFly delivery system helps reduce driving time and allows for faster deliveries, the company says. The result is considerably more efficiency in everyday delivery routes.
The patented HorseFly system works in this manner:
1) The truck delivery driver loads the package and launches the HorseFly drone;
2) The HorseFly drone autonomously launches from the rood of the delivery truck and proceeds to the delivery location;
3) At the delivery location, the drone automatically descends and delivers the package; and
4) The HorseFly drone returns to the delivery truck at a planned stop and autonomously redocks and recharges for its next delivery.
“We feel that package delivery by drone is here,” adds Burns. “Soon your package may come to your home by HorseFly!”