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UPS to start using drones as demand for same-day delivery increases

As the demand for same-day delivery increases UPS starts to use drones as well as other delivery options to improve service for all customers. Apart from using drones the transportation giant is also looking to extend their hours of operation, expand weekend deliveries and use other innovative technologies such as autonomous ground delivery vehicles.

UPS to start using drones as demand for same-day delivery increases

“In 2019, UPS launched more new services and operational innovations than in any year in the company’s recent history,” said UPS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Abney. “We are demonstrating further bold action in 2020 as we embrace market trends, invest for growth, partner for added reach and develop unique capabilities using next generation technologies.”

UPS Flight Forward, the company’s drone-based subsidiary, will expand its operations at the University of California at San Diego Health. In February, the company will start delivering medical supplies across the campus using unmanned aerial vehicles.

Apart from using drones to deliver products, UPS will dramatically expand their weekend deliveries effectively doubling their delivery volume and reaching as many as 40 million additional customers. The UPS Extended Hours will reach will enable the company to reach 98% of the US consumer population, up from the 85% reached in mid-2019.

“Demand for faster delivery is a growing trend with the largest e-commerce shippers moving from two-day to one-day delivery,” said UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren. “Our network enhancements and weekend services give our customers industry-leading choice, convenience and speed to market.”

The company is expanding its Smart Global Logistics Network by adding over 5 million square feet of new automated sortation capacity, starting with a $1.4 billion investment in Pennsylvania facilities to service the Northeast. By the end of 2021, nearly 100% of UPS packages will be sorted with automated technologies.

“From small business owners growing their customer base to manufacturers moving parts and products, and e-tailers looking for efficient and fast order fulfillment, companies of all sizes throughout the Northeast will benefit from UPS’s latest global network transformation initiatives,” said UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer Juan Perez.

Waymo, an autonomous vehicle company, has partnered with UPS to begin testing autonomous vehicle package pickup in Arizona. Waymo’s autonomous vehicles will shuttle packages from UPS store locations to nearby sorting facilities for processing. The vehicles will be operated autonomously, though a Waymo-trained driver will be onboard to monitor operations.

“The UPS Store is excited to participate with Waymo in this test to explore ways to provide an even better experience for customers within our network of 4,800 retail locations,” said Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store Inc.

What do you think about UPS to start using drones to deliver packages? Let us know in the comments below.

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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo