Drone Delivery Company Tests In SW Ohio

Aug 31, 2020

A New Jersey high-tech logistics company, with plans to deliver grocery and drug store items to consumers via drone, is testing a unique kind of radar system in Springfield, Ohio, for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

Drone Express, a division of TELEGRID, says it will deliver small packages using the autonomous drones it designs and manufactures. It says this will also reduce the number of delivery trucks and, consequently, the impact on the environment.

Principal Engineer Beth Flippo moved her family to Liberty Township for the summer to conduct tests at the Springfield Beckley Airport. "We wanted to go and try to fly with SkyVision (radar) and see what's available, and the ecosystem that they have out there in Springfield is just phenomenal."

WVXU reported on this radar and talked about it on Science Friday in 2018. It allows unmanned aircraft systems to detect and avoid other aircraft while in flight. The air traffic controller for drones sits in an RV.

Mitch Heaton, left, and Beth Flippo at the Springfield Airport testing their drones.
Credit Courtesy of Drone Express

Drone Express is one of the first commercial companies to test at Springfield. It wasn't recruited but the state of Ohio is trying to lure other businesses to test at the site.

Mitch Heaton now works for Drone Express but used to be with the Dayton Development Coalition.

"We've been working on this in this state for probably about eight years now and just last year it was able to go live and here we are having people taking advantage of it," he says.

Heaton likes seeing somebody notice the ecosystem and take advantage of it.

How Drone Express Would Get Products To You

Flippo says the idea is the drones will deliver to your phone's GPS location in 15-30 minutes.

She suggests examples like ice cream late at night or Tylenol for a headache at work.

Drone Express is not looking to compete with Amazon, but instead gives the brick-and-mortar stores it delivers from the chance to do so.

The company is still waiting for a couple of FAA certificates to fly BVLOS by the end of the year.