Modern delivery systems will soon be here. UPS and Beta Technologies (Beta) signed a partnership which will see up to 150 of Beta's electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft join UPS' fleet of delivery vehicles.
The announcement, made on Wednesday, April 7, outlined how UPS plans on using Beta's eVTOLs to deliver time-sensitive packages. The companies foresee this system predominantly being used by healthcare providers, small- and medium-sized businesses, and other companies in small communities.
"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," UPS chief information and engineering officer Juan Perez stated in a press release.
As Beta's eVTOLs don't need to take off or land into airports, they'll fly directly in and out of UPS facilities. The companies pointed out that nearby communities wouldn't be disrupted by buzzing eVTOLs above their homes, as these make minimal noise.
As for the eVTOLs, they will have a range of 402 km (250 miles), a cruising speed of up to 273 km/h (170 mph), and a cargo capacity of 635 kg (1,400 pounds). Using Beta's proprietary modular charging stations, its aircraft can charge up in under an hour.
The current eVTOL Beta is designing has an onboard pilot controlling the systems, which will hopefully facilitate its certification process. Further down the line, the hope is for Beta's eVTOLs to fly autonomously
Currently, Beta is flight testing its Alia-250 full-scale prototype. This aircraft uses four lifting propellers for vertical take-offs and landings and has a rear-mounted pusher propeller for cruise.
As it stands, the plan is for Beta to deliver 10 eVTOLs to UPS starting in 2024, with the option of purchasing up to 150 of them.
The next few years will certainly be exciting ones when it comes to seeing eVTOLs zooming above our heads. Beta isn't the only company working on certifying and ultimately flying its futuristic aircraft: the world's first electric flying eVTOL race is set to kick off in 2022, Volocopter's eVTOL taxi service is set for 2023, and Lilium's flying eVTOL taxi will takeoff in 2024.