Almost all industries have incorporated the usage of drones. Farming, fishing, journalism, mining and many more. Drones reduce human effort drastically and save precious hours on end. Logistics is the area where every minute counts. Delay of a single minute may cost the company dearly. This is the industry which requires punctuality and speed in its every transaction. Delivering a product, mail or cargo has to be secure, foolproof and fast. For ages the delivery of goods has involved complete human effort which can sometimes be inefficient.
Delivery drones are the future of the Logistics industry. Drones can provide speed, safety and accessibility to the most remote parts of the world. Larger drones can handle much more than just photography. Their payload capacity is getting better with every single advancement of technology along with their flight time. This may prove to be a turning point for the E-Commerce giants like Amazon and Ebay which are dependent on timely deliveries of their products for a massive consumer base.
There are several companies which have already begun the research and development of delivery drones. They have also started testing out their prototypes and initial models. Here is the list of some of them:
Amazon Prime Air
Amazon has started testing out its most advanced form of delivery called the Amazon Prime Air. They claim to deliver products in less than half-an hour using the Prime Air delivery system. Their drones would cover a radius of 10 miles (16 Km) and could carry a weight of up to 5 pounds (2 Kg). Although the project is still in its development phase, Amazon hopes to bring this technology into real life soon.
Flirtey is an Australian start-up aimed at delivering anything, at any time, to any place, with the use of drones. Flirtey, like Amazon, is also in its development phase and with their rapid progress they might be the leading drone delivery system in the world.
Domino’s is famous worldwide for their pizzas. A UK branch of Domino’s is considering pizza delivery via drones. This was inferred from a video released by them which showcased a drone dropping off a pizza box to a customer. The video went viral within hours of it release. However, the company did not release any official statement but the prospect of delivery drones in the fast food lane looks bright.
The leading logistics company has made an advancement in using drones for its deliveries. They do not plan on delivering cargo completely via drones. Instead their plan is to turn their delivery trucks into a vehicle that will serve as a drone base, with a take-off and landing zone on the roof of the vehicle. This will clear any traffic delays and hold-ups when the truck is at a location near the customer and will drastically reduce fuel prices as well.
Matternet is a pharmaceutical start-up which has the aim of delivering medical supplies to remote areas with the help of drones. They are developing their concept and may prove to be the first one to use logistics in the medical field.
Challenges to Overcome:
Drones are setting really high standards but they might still not be perfect for the logistics industry. The major factors which determine the efficiency of a delivery drone is the number of deliveries it can make in a single run and the time it takes to do so. Based on the these factors we can conclude whether delivery drones are capable of reducing human effort and moreover are they capable of replacing it. Only if the drone stands true to these two factors can it prove to be profitable.
Currently, drones which have been tested can carry and deliver just a single package. This means every time a delivery is made, the drone would require to return to base and then reload for another delivery. This would increase the cost as the companies would then require to own a fleet of delivery drones.The present means of delivery is using trucks which make around 130 stops a day, delivering hundreds of packages. In this way, trucks and human labor still hold a higher advantage. Keeping in mind the incredibly speeding technology, delivery by drones might happen much sooner than we can imagine.