Operation Last-Mile: Critical Drone Delivery Testing Report

2 Executive Summary

This exercise proved that Part 107 pilots using commercially available drones could successfully and repeatedly deliver 1.275-pound payload packages to 10-foot diameter targets on 1500-foot round trips under FAA Part 107 flight rules. Over 200 total flights were flown during the day and at night. Test plans called for 90 progressively more difficult delivery test flights. Those 90 delivery flights were recorded in rich detail. Of the 90 delivery flights, 90 payloads were dropped inside a 10-foot diameter, predetermined target. One delivery attempt was safely aborted when the wind caused instability, that flight was then reflown successfully. Four delivery teams operated during the operation. Three ​ DroneUp ​ teams operated the DJI Inspire 2 drone. Each ​ DroneUp ​ team consisted of a Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC), a LoadMaster, and a Visual Observer (VO). The RPIC manned the sticks on the controller. The LoadMaster was adjacent to the RPIC and operated the radio and managed the payload. The VO was positioned in the target area to ensure a visual line of sight was maintained on the aircraft at all times. A fourth pilot team from UPS/Workhorse also participated in Operation Last-Mile. They flew tests independent of ​ DroneUp ​ and also flew alongside DroneUp ​ in Test 5, to test airspace deconfliction. The flight statistics reported include only the 90 DroneUp flights flown with the Inspire 2 drone. The average round-trip flight distance to the 19 different targets ranged between 452 feet and 1501 feet, averaging 924 feet. The average delivery elapsed time was 4.24 minutes, which consumed 20.2% of the aircraft’s battery power. Most of the targets for the payload deliveries were purposely placed close to obstacles such as trees, buildings, and power lines because the purpose of the testing was to find the limits of safe and efficient drone delivery. In the real world, wide-open targets would be selected, which would take an estimated 42 seconds off the average round trip delivery times. Taking into account delivering to wide-open targets, we estimate that 2000-foot round trip flights would, on average, take 5.4 minutes (including payload handling and battery swap-outs) and consume 30% battery. DroneUp ​ estimates that 3 flight crews of 3 members each could deliver between 150 and 300 packages in an 8-hour shift depending on the distance of the take-off spot to the target. Based on actual recorded performance, here are the projections we make for round trip deliveries at target distances between 500 feet and 2500 feet.

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