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Workhorse Group moves to expand last-mile patent portfolio


April 28, 2020
By UAV Canada Staff


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Workhorse currently holds a patent for operating parcel-delivery aircraft from the top of delivery vehicles. (Photo: Workhorse Group)

Workhorse Group Inc., which focuses on providing electric vehicles to the last mile delivery sector, has expanded its patent portfolio through a recently filed provisional application. The company explains the application is designed to protect the HorseFly Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and several of the system’s key components and capabilities, including its ground control station, winch deliveries and aircraft structure.

The HorseFly UAS includes a multi-use aircraft that can deliver parcels, carry sensors and cameras, and operate autonomously. The company explains the system is designed to deliver what represents approximately 80 per cent of most commercial package sizes, shapes, and weights while carrying a five-pound payload up to 10 miles.

The HorseFly system has been demonstrated on commercial deliveries, flying autonomously from truck-top operations in U.S. airspace, in a process that meets all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight standards. The aircraft’s flexible design allows users to select different delivery methods, including air drops, winch deliveries from various altitudes, and ground deliveries. The aircraft design also features a quick-change battery system to reduce ground time between missions.

HorseFly also provides mission planning software for operators to coordinate delivery routes and to avoid no-fly zones and hazardous weather. Workhorse Group explains the planning system also includes a customer interface that enables remote pilots to monitor missions from virtually anywhere, notifying pilots when their attention is required.

“In the last several months we have seen significant and growing interest in our vehicle-launched HorseFly delivery drone, making the need to expand the HorseFly patent portfolio even more critical,” said Duane Hughes, CEO, Workhorse. “We believe this increased consideration is a direct result of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the recognition that new methods of delivery are quickly becoming essential.

Hughes continues to describe the Workhorse electric delivery vehicles, with their integrated drone capabilities, as the most economical and efficient last mile option currently available.