Drone delivery is still a ways off, legality withstanding, and if you still thought that door-to-door delivery bots were just around the corner, allow UPS to convince you otherwise.

At a recent drone demonstration, UPS impressed reporters with a working machine that departs from the roof of one of their delivery trucks. The drone docks inside the roof of the truck, where the driver places a package (of up to 10 pounds) into the attached cage. The roof of the truck then slides open and the drone flies from the street to the customer’s front door and back again. It all went smoothly.

Until reporters asked to see it again.

During the unplanned encore presentation, the drone – nicknamed the HorseFly – experienced electrical interference that compromised its compass. It aborted the launch and attempted to land back on top of the UPS truck, where it fell on its side and was almost crushed by the still-closing lid of the truck. Thankfully a quick-thinking UPS employee took manual control of the drone and managed to land it on the ground unharmed.

The takeaway here is that if electrical interference can topple a drone that quickly, then we’re even further from drone delivery than we previously thought. There are a lot of kinks to work out before this becomes a reality, especially if there are issues simply flying the twenty feet to a customer’s door.

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