DronesModern Shipper

Workhorse has begun prototype drone production, CEO says

Electric van maker significantly increases drone personnel for last-mile deliveries

On Workhorse’s Q2 earnings call Tuesday, CEO Richard Dauch promised a larger focus on the company’s drone delivery program. During the quarter, Workhorse relocated its aerospace business to Mason, Ohio — 15 minutes from headquarters in Sharonville, Ohio.

Originally known as AMP, Workhorse largely focuses on electric delivery vans, but has since broadened its operations — namely, drones.

“It gives us the administrative, engineering, warehousing and manufacturing space we need since we plan to start prototype drone production in Q3 2022,” Dauch said. “In fact, we are in prototype drone production.”

Workhorse and its last-mile drone delivery program partner, UPS, are testing delivery vans that can deploy rooftop-mounted drones, carrying packages weighing up to 10 pounds.

WATCH: Testing the Short-term Needs for Electric Vehicles



According to Dauch, Workhorse has doubled its number of certified drone pilots, alongside significant expansions in its hardware and software engineering teams.

“We have made vast improvements in our drones’ autonomous operational capabilities and have multiple customer demonstrations and tests planned in Q3 and in the fourth quarter of this year …,” he said. “We’re excited about our drone operations and are exploring additional projects with federal and state governments as well as large retailers and contractors.”

Currently, it takes Workhorse almost 70 hours to build one drone. Dauch said the manufacturing time will decrease over time, due in substantial part to the company’s much larger 75,000-foot aerospace facility.

“I’m not sure exactly where our target is in the future, but it will be a lot less than 70 hours,” he said. “And we want to be able to get out and lower our build material costs. Even the way we do things today, it’s still a very profitable business.”


READ MORE: Workhorse shares tank on anemic Q2 revenue


Dauch said his team has entertained the idea of expanding drone operations beyond last-mile deliveries.

“[W]e came up with some of the ideas about the aerial reconnaissance and the mapping that’s led to a grant from the USDA, which has led to multiple grants from the USDA, which has led to opportunities at states to do some transport of parts like in the oil fields up in North Dakota to around the Ohio 33 corridor here to move parts,” he said.

“We’ve talked about moving medical supplies between hospitals and blood banks. It’s almost endless.”

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Jeremy Kariuki

Based in Georgia, Jeremy is a reporter for FreightWaves. He attained his bachelor's in journalism and emerging media from Kennesaw State University. He also served in the Georgia Air National Guard as a C-130 Crew Chief for six years, holding an associate's in aircraft maintenance technology.