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12th April 2018, Cincinnati, OH

US patent for UAV delivery drone system

Workhorse Group, an American technology company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the commercial electric transportation sector, has announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for the HorseFly Truck Launched Drone Package Delivery System.

The HorseFly UAV delivery system is a custom-built, carbon fibre, high-efficiency octocopter delivery drone that is fully integrated with the Workhorse line of electric/hybrid delivery trucks. The HorseFly system conforms to FAA guidelines for UAV operation in the US. Being integrated with delivery trucks, the system is designed such that a driver or driver's assistant can maintain line-of-sight operation of the UAV delivery process.

HorseFly UAV delivery system. © Workhorse Group

“We feel that the patented HorseFly truck launched drone package delivery system is the first major change to the last mile delivery process since the invention of the package delivery truck. Drivers appreciate the fact that the HorseFly system is fast, reliable, and efficient,” said Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO. “Last mile package delivery is changing, and the HorseFly delivery system is leading the way.”

Coming to San Francisco

Beginning this month, the company is also deploying the country's first fleet of all-electric, zero-emission N-Gen cargo vans in the Bay Area, San Francisco. The electric N-Gen van, with lightweight composite body, will provide an anticipated range of 100 miles on a single charge.

A HorseFly unmanned package delivery drone is one of the available design features. Others include collision avoidance system, automatic braking, and lane centering warning. Designed to assist the delivery driver, the HorseFly drone delivery system helps reduce driving time and allows faster deliveries.

N-Gen cargo van. © Workhorse Group

After the truck delivery driver loads the package and launches the HorseFly drone, it autonomously launches from the rood of the delivery truck, proceeding to the delivery location, automatically descends and delivers the package, and returns to the delivery truck at a planned stop and autonomously redocks and recharges for its next delivery.

Safe and efficient delivery

In partnership with Ryder System, the exclusive maintenance provider for Workhorse’s entire electric vehicle fleet in North America, the all-electric N-Gen vehicles are built to be the safest, most efficient last-mile delivery and work truck system available, the company reports. Standard is all-wheel drive and superior turning radius for a light class vehicle. The built-in Workhorse Metron telematics system tracks all parameters in real time to optimise performance and efficiency.

“Rolling out this history making fleet of N-Gen vans in one of the most innovative cities in America is something myself and the entire team are extremely proud of,” said Duane Hughes, Workhorse President and COO. “This deployment is the first step towards transitioning the largest growing segment in the truck business into a zero-emission stronghold.”

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