UPS Has High Hopes for a New Way to Deliver Packages
The Rise of eVTOLs
United Parcel Service (UPS) is buying 10 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft from Beta Technologies. UPS eventually wants to service its small and medium-sized markets with the devices.
The delivery company plans to test Beta Technologies’ eVTOLs in its Express Air Delivery network. The aircraft will operate under UPS’ Flight Forward unit—a group which is also exploring the use of drones for delivery.
As part of the deal, Beta Technologies will provide UPS with rechargeable batteries and landing pads. UPS has the option to buy 150 additional eVTOLs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Cargo Containers in the Sky
Beta Technologies’ eVTOLS can fly at speeds of 170 mph and travel 250 miles on a single charge. The aircraft can hold 1,400 pounds of cargo. The vehicles are best suited for time-sensitive deliveries which typically rely on small fixed-wing aircraft. UPS said the aircraft will take off and land on UPS facilities, reducing the time spent in transit. This will also cut down on emissions and operating costs.
Once the aircraft are delivered, UPS said it can use them for multiple short routes or one large route on one battery charge. “You can see a future where it’s carrying, let’s say 1,000 pounds, 1,500 pounds to rural hospitals,” said Bala Ganesh, Vice President of the UPS Advanced Technology Group.
UPS Bets on Advanced Delivery Tech
UPS’ purchase of the electric aircraft marks a further push to use advanced technology to deliver packages. Beta and UPS worked closely on the initiative. “By utilizing vertical takeoffs and landings, we can turn relatively small spaces at existing UPS facilities into a micro air feeder network without the noise or operating emissions of traditional aircraft,” said Kyle Clark, Founder of Beta Technologies.
This isn’t UPS’ first purchase of electric delivery devices. In January of 2020 it agreed to buy as many as 10,000 electric vehicles from Arrival Group (ARVL).
The recent ecommerce boom has led many companies to look for innovative, sustainable delivery solutions. UPS has been an important player in the delivery market over the past year and wants to make sure to maintain its position.
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