Ford plans last-mile delivery drones docking in cargo trucks
Wading into an area Amazon, Walmart, and even automotive company Renault have all examined before, US car giant Ford is looking into a cargo truck that can act as a logistics and docking hub for drones making last-mile deliveries.
The system is detailed in a US patent filed by the company back in January, but which was only recently published. The Ford document describes a “(s)ystem and methods for a decentralized hybrid air-ground autonomous last-mile goods delivery” using trucks loaded with goods to serve as docking stations for drones flying orders to clients. At its most basic level, the scheme would extend fixed-location storage and logistic facilities to mobile platforms (i.e. trucks), to and from which UAVs would fly round-trip runs to customers’ homes.
Those kinds of operations have already been envisioned by Amazon and Walmart – the latter through its GoLocal service. A similar idea is also at the heart of a freight truck…