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Locally made drone is future of delivery
CINCINNATI (Paula Toti) -- Some day soon, it's likely a drone will deliver the package you buy on line to your doorstep and it's a local company that is making those vehicles.
People are used to having the delivery person coming to the door with a package. But what if that a delivery truck were to park in the general area and use drones to take packages to several locations all centered around that truck. It would save a lot of miles on the big truck and save time. When the FAA gives to okay for the commercial use of such vehicles, AMP will be ready.
At the warehouse in Loveland it looks like the guys have one of the best jobs in the world, flying a remote helicopter. Yes, most of us would call it a drone but at AMP feels that sounds like a spying device. They prefer an "unmanned aerial vehicle," or UAV.
"We've been in development for a year but wanted to wait until you know it can survive the cold and wind and all the things a car can survive," said CEO of AMP, Steve Burns.
And it looks like it certainly can. Local 12 got a demo of the devise from AMP engineers along with UC engineers who have teamed up for the project. The UAV has been given the trademarked name, "Horsefly."
It can fly to the top of the delivery truck where it could recharge, it can fly off in the distance and it came really close to me an intended target with a two pound package.
The feeling is that Horsefly would have an edge in the drone delivery market because it would team up with the electric delivery fleet vehicles for recharging. The AMP electric car business already has proven success with electric battery technology. Teaming up with UC has allowed for some proprietary technology.
AMP Chief Engineer, Don Wires, said, "Obviously we can't talk a whole lot about it but it's windy today and it doesn't bother it. If we lose a propeller we can still handle it."
But the bottom line is the project has to make economic sense to go to market. Horsefly costs two cents a mile for a delivery. The big electric trucks about 28 cents. So every mile on the Horsefly saves money and it can go about 20 miles on a charge. It's expected the FAA will give approval for the commercial use of drones the end of this year or early next year. Right now they can be flown by hobbyist, the military and universities.
It's also expected the FAA will restrict drone commercial flights to no higher than 400 feet and certainly not near airports.
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