back to article Spin doctors: UPS gets permission to expand drone delivery fleet in the US

UPS is boasting of a deal with America's Federal Aviation Administration which the shipping giant says will dramatically expand its drone delivery operation. The parcel-mover on Tuesday said it had been granted clearance under the FAA's Part 135 certification to operate its drone service as an air transport business. While …

  1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Like skeet!

    But with prizes!

    I wonder if any attempt to patent this will run up against a prior art complaint from prison gangs using UAV deliveries of guns and blow

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Like skeet!

      But in this case, the prize you get might be someone's stool sample. Eh, still as good as some of the proposed fast-food-via-drone proposals that pop up occasionally.

      (I hear the distant sound of black quad-copters, and am off to my Montana mountain bunker complex.)

    2. Nightkiller

      Re: Like skeet!

      Why would they? They'll just do an end run around Heisenberg by having an insider tell them which drones are carrying the narcotics and target those for fun and profit.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "move items [..] faster than a human runner could manage"

    So, if I understand correctly, right now large hospitals employ people to run around carrying stuff that is needed ? Funny, I've been to a few hospitals in my lifetime and I don't remember seeing employees running around carrying something.

    1. TwistedPsycho

      Re: "move items [..] faster than a human runner could manage"

      Well no, Health & Safety bans running, which flies straight into the hands of drones that can probably go faster than a runner as well as a walker.

    2. spold Silver badge

      Re: "move items [..] faster than a human runner could manage"

      At least you will be close to the Emergency department when it flies into you/ lands on you.

    3. JohnFen

      Re: "move items [..] faster than a human runner could manage"

      All of the hospitals in my area use pneumatic tubes to quickly move things from one area to another.

  3. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Prior art

    So basically it's the modern 21st century equivalent of the Pneumatic Tube delivery system?

    I wonder which of the two will turn out to be cheaper, quicker and/or more reliable given many hospitals have been using the older system for decades...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prior art

      What happens when the weather is bad, and so the drones are grounded???

      Tube system wins again!

    2. JohnFen

      Re: Prior art

      "given many hospitals have been using the older system for decades..."

      Yes. I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that hospital using pneumatic tube systems are legacy, but just in case, I'd like to point out that a huge regional hospital was built in my area relatively recently, and it included an extensive new pneumatic tube system. The hospital is very proud of it and everyone I know who works there thinks it's great.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Prior art

        Correct. I meant that there is a problem/application there, but a solution has been in place and working reliably since the early 1800's. Older and established doesn't necessarily mean worse.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The first location for the service will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the drones will move items around the WakeMed hospital campus.

    Isn't that sufficiently close to the coast to get seriously inclement weather fairly often? I wonder what their (and the hospital's) backup plan is for when it is too windy and or too rainy for a drone to fly? Keeping human runners on hand at all times would seem to defeat the purpose of the system, while not doing so would risk safety of the patients.

    1. LB45

      Droning on

      Not really that close to the coast, couple of hours drive away. No more inclement than anywhere else.

      No mention of which campus. WakeMed has multiple campuses in the area. Wondering if the drones will fly between campuses, thus avoiding the usual traffic tie ups rather than just between buildings on one campus which doesn't seem worth the effort. Unless of course it's you walking across a blistering parking lot on a hot day.

  5. John Lilburne

    Re: Is there a scammier corporation

    Years ago I did some farm working (bailing, root vegetable planting, harvesting, etc) Three times a day a van delivered tea and coffee from the remote farmhouse to those in the fields. Drones would be perfect for that job.

  6. Peter Galbavy

    So, instead of carrying some item - nothing too heavy or large - between buildings on a "campus", you now have to get it to a roof or an outdoor area, place it in a special sized carrier, submit a request for pickup and ... a solution looking for a problem, with a nice fat charge onto US medical insurance bills, I am sure.

  7. FrogsAndChips
    Pirate

    Re: "put back the fishing net"

    Darn, I was so looking forward to this.

  8. Flywheel Silver badge

    I wonder how resistant to hijacking the drones will be? Stool samples may not be much of a prize, but certain types of drugs would be. I'm sure they've thought of this.

    1. JohnFen

      From what I've read about the various plans for drone deliveries, the way this will be addressed is to use a bunch of sensors and cameras to make it difficult for people to do this without giving law enforcement enough information to find them.

  9. JohnFen

    I sure hope not

    "For example, drone service may not be efficient in dense urban areas where package deliveries are already concentrated."

    I sure shop this remains true. The last thing I want is to have the omnipresent, irritating sound of drones flying around my neighborhood.

    1. Alistair
      Windows

      Re: I sure hope not

      @JohnFen:

      I think shop not would be better as it will be the shopping that brings the droning.

      ;}

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