Why Drone Delivery Won’t Replace the UPS Guy – The New Yorker

Delivering packages seems like a task that could be easily automated. But, in fact, it’s complicated. Customers are often not at home to receive packages, and so delivery people need to know if they can leave the package safely and where to leave it, whether they should ring a neighbor’s doorbell instead, and so on. Cities present additional problems, since many buildings don’t have doormen and there are typically multiple apartment units in a single building. For a human, dealing with these challenges is reasonably easy, if annoying. How a drone would deal with them is a bit of a mystery.

The genius of the current system, from the customer’s perspective, is that most of the labor of delivery is performed by the person doing the delivering. If I’m not home when my package arrives, the UPS guy knows to leave it with one of the other people in my building. Or, if none of the neighbors are home, they’ll just come back later. I don’t have to do anything, or commit to being anywhere, to get my package. I order it. It arrives. (That’s what makes the rare cases when this isn’t true—like when the U.S.P.S. guy leaves a notice requesting that I trek down to the post office to pick up a package—incredibly annoying.)

Shifting most deliveries to drones would complicate this picture considerably.

Forget Amazon’s Drones – Google Is In A Far Better Position To Change Deliveries Forever – Business Insider

Amazon and UPS are investigating package delivery via automated flying drones, but a New York Times profile of Google’s recent interest in robotics lays out an interesting hypothetical situation: imagine a self-driving car pulling up in your driveway, and a robot getting out to deliver your package instead of a living, breathing UPS human bedecked in brown.

A Bad Thanksgiving Weekend for Stores, But a Great One For UPS – Wall Street Journal

United Parcel Service Inc.UPS is on track for a record breaking year after a huge boost in traffic over the weekend thanks to online shopping, even as sales were down at traditional retailers.

“Cyber sales were up significantly, and cyber sales are what drive packages,” said Alan Gershenhorn, chief sales, marketing and strategy officer, in an interview with the WSJ on Monday, adding that the Black Friday weekend has officially turned into “Cyber Weekend.”

The company’s delivery army picked up about 32 million packages on Cyber Monday – about 10% more than ever before – and is on track to deliver more than 129 million packages this week, he added.

UPS researching delivery drones that could compete with Amazon’s Prime Air – The Verge

Flying parcel-carriers are the next logical frontier for delivery companies

Sources familiar with the company’s plans say it has been testing and evaluating different approaches to drone delivery. Asked for a comment, a company spokesman said that, “The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it.

In some ways, say industry experts, this is no surprise. “I would be shocked if a company like UPS wasn’t considering this,” says Ryan Calo, a law professor specializing in drones and robotics. “If you want to compete in logistics and delivery, drones and unmanned robots have to be part of the conversation about where things are headed.”