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UPS Looks To eVTOL Aircraft As The Future

Image via UPS

UPS continues to embrace technology as the delivery giant announced yesterday it will purchase electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Beta Technologies in conjunction with its UPS Flight Forward subsidiary.

The move is intended to bolster UPS' air service for select small and mid-size markets as these eVTOL aircrafts will take off and land on-property at UPS facilities. Utilizing the aircraft will enable UPS to reduce time-in-transit, vehicle emissions and operating costs.

UPS will use the aircraft, which can carry up to 1,400 pounds of cargo, for time-sensitive deliveries that would traditionally be transported using small fixed-wing aircraft. Beta's eVTOL aircraft has a range of 250 miles and can reach speeds of up to 170 miles per hour, giving UPS the option to use them for multiple short routes or a single, longer route.

"This is all about innovation with a focus on returns for our business, our customers, and the environment," UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer Juan Perez said. "These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services, and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation."

Beta's eVTOL aircraft comes with four fixed vertical lift propellers and one pusher propeller used for forward flight. The aircraft charges in less than an hour or less and produces zero operational emissions. UPS has also reserved Beta's recharging station, which ensures safe and rapid charging and offers the aircraft's batteries a second life cycle.

"We're combining simple, elegant design and advanced technology to create a reliable aircraft with zero operational emissions that will revolutionize how cargo moves," BETA founder and CEO Kyle Clark said. "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."

Yesterday's announcement by UPS is the latest example of how freight companies are embracing technology as customers continue to expect shorter delivery times.

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