Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Workhorse wins drone-delivery patent application approval

Steve Rogerson
February 13, 2018



Ohio-based Workhorse Group has been allowed to apply for a patent for its HorseFly lorry-launched package-delivery drone.
 
The HorseFly system adheres to all current FAA safety regulations for drone package delivery, as each package is delivered within the delivery driver's line of sight.
 
The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a notice of allowance for the patent application.
 
The lorry driver loads the package and launches the HorseFly drone. The drone autonomously launches from the roof of the delivery lorry, gains altitude and proceeds to the delivery location where it autonomously descends and the package is released. The drone then returns to the delivery lorry at a planned stop and autonomously re-docks and recharges for its next delivery.
 
The system was first successfully tested in a rural delivery, launching the drone with a package from atop a lorry. The HorseFly system provides significant cost efficiency by eliminating extra kilometres of driving to deliver packages.
 
"We believe, as we proceed with the patent application process, that the HorseFly truck launched drone package delivery system will be the first major change to the last mile delivery process since the invention of the truck," said Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO. “The HorseFly system is designed to work with the truck driver to increase efficiency. We feel this is a game-changing moment in time that will innovate the way packages are delivered for many years to come."
 
The HorseFly UAV delivery system is a custom-built, high efficiency delivery UAV that is fully integrated with the Workhorse line of electric and hybrid delivery lorries. The drone conforms to FAA guidelines for UAV operation in the USA. Most notably, being fully integrated with delivery lorries, the system is designed such that a driver or driver's assistant can maintain line-of-sight operation of the UAV delivery process.
 
Workhorse is a technology company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective technology to the commercial transportation sector. It designs and builds battery-electric vehicles including lorries and aircraft. It also develops cloud-based, real-time telematics performance monitoring systems that are integrated with its vehicles and enable fleet operators to optimise energy and route efficiency.