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Workhorse Group expands the HorseFly last mile delivery patent portfolio; multi-use unmanned aerial system (UAS)

Workhorse Group Inc., a company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective electric vehicles to the last-mile delivery sector, has expanded its patent portfolio through a recently filed provisional application, further protecting 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 is a custom-built, high-efficiency hexacopter-based delivery UAV that is fully integrated with Workhorse’s line of electric delivery trucks. The HorseFly system is designed to conform to the FAA guidelines for UAV operation in the US. Most notably, being fully integrated with delivery trucks, the system is designed such that a driver or driver’s assistant can maintain line-of-sight operation of the UAV delivery process.

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The HorseFly UAS includes a safe, reliable, multi-use aircraft that can deliver parcels, carry sensors and cameras, and operate autonomously with a high degree of precision.

Workhorse currently holds a patent for operating parcel-delivery aircraft from the top of delivery vehicles.

The HorseFly was designed to deliver what represents approximately 80% of most commercial package sizes, shapes, and weights while safely carrying a five-pound payload up to 10 miles.

The HorseFly system’s success has been demonstrated through real-world commercial deliveries, flying autonomously from truck-top operations in US 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. Its quick-change battery system also effectively reduces ground time between missions. The aircraft’s durable structure supports superior levels of reliability in the high-utilization, demanding markets of commercial and industrial users.

HorseFly’s mission planning software enables operators to coordinate precise delivery routes, avoiding no-fly zones and hazardous weather. 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. With this capability, the system can adapt to most every mission and customer’s need.

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. 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.

Additionally, we are hearing from many businesses that this transition is not a temporary one, and that we need to adapt to a new normal. We feel strongly that all Workhorse electric delivery vehicles, with their integrated drone capabilities, are the most economical and efficient last mile option currently available, making our solutions a necessity now and for future critical applications.

—Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes

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