A college engineering student got a big surprise Monday when UPS mistakenly delivered him parts of a drone belonging to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The student happens to also be active on Reddit and posted pictures of the surprise delivery on the image-sharing site Imgur.
According to NOAA spokesman David Miller, the student received the wings and ground-control system of a Puma unmanned aerial system — a relatively small aircraft that Miller describes as “basically a flying camera.” A Puma drone is worth about $350,000 when fully assembled.
After the mistaken delivery made a viral splash and the student contacted UPS, the box containing parts of the drone, which had been shipped from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, was sent to its rightful destination: the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts.
Miller said NOAA planned to use the aircraft to track bird migrations, yet another unusual and innovative use for this new versatile technology (check out some other unusual examples on newsladder.net). But only seven boxed arrived at the proper destination. Somewhere en route from Florida to Massachusetts, one of the boxes containing drone parts allegedly got mislabeled and went missing.
The Reddit user admitted that he should not have posted photos of the drone online before contacting NOAA. He said he was glad that the incident was resolved without him being led away in handcuffs, or ‘dead,’ as he wrote half-jokingly in response to other Reddit users’ quips.