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Drone Delivery: How Far Are We From a Sky Full of UAVs?

by | May 3, 2022 | Community




Every day, people rely on cargo to get food, medicine and other essential supplies from one place to another around the globe and as quickly as possible. Logistics has become the lifeblood of civilization. And the concept of same-day shipping is becoming something that cannot be underestimated.

In this fast-moving world, people want to get everything as fast as possible. And increase consumer purchasing power and harsh online competition, companies need to find ways to stay ahead of the competition and get products to customers quicker than usual. Imagine placing an order online and getting your package in just minutes, this is the future of e-commerce.

Through the use of drones, customers will be able to get their orders very quickly. Some cities across the world have already gotten a taste of what commercial drone deliveries will look Like. In 2013, Jeff Bezos introduced the world to a concept that promised to revolutionize delivery.

The concept of autonomous drone delivery would engulf cities, sweeping across skies to deliver packages to customers within just thirty minutes after their order. Drones would offer urban and suburban consumers a clean, quick, convenient delivery option for food, medicine or whatever else it can carries.

Why do we need drone delivery?

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). They can fly independently and beyond the line of sight of their operators. As such, drones are among the most technologically advanced devices in the world today. They are used for a variety of purposes, from personal use to military applications.

Drones are used for surveillance, research, protection of borders and emergency responses. These aircraft are often used for mapping and video recording also. As technology improves, drone use will become more widespread.

Drone deliveries are a trend in online retail. These automated machines deliver packages and other goods without the need for humans to do it. After Jeff Bezos’s announcement in 2013, the idea signaled the race to take delivery drones to market was on. 

By the time Amazon landed its first package, companies such as Zipline were already delivering medical supplies in Rwanda, SkyDrop had flown a 7-Eleven Slurpee and a Dominos pizza straight to consumers and Google’s Project Wing had airdropped burritos to customers.

A wave of startups sent their maiden drone deliveries while major parcel couriers like DHL, UPS and FedEx substantiated the hype by partnering with tech companies to help solve their last-mile problems. Every logistics company can agree that the final mile of a product’s journey is the most expensive.

As packages leave a shipping container, flight, or from the lorries vessel, it enters smaller vehicles such as vans and sometimes cars and gig workers. And rather than carrying thousands of products, a driver can now only carry a few dozen. Employing thousands of drivers comes at an incredible cost to shipping companies.

Amazon has been toying with the idea of cutting out these final employees with autonomous machines such as the six-wheeled scout robot. And the air testing has been taking place for amazon’s fleet of drones since 2013 but it wasn’t until 2020 that the company received approval from the FAA (Federal Aviation Association) to operate a fleet of delivery drones.

There are a number of companies developing drone delivery systems and services. Alphabet subsidiary Wing is developing a small UAV for package delivery. It hovers about 20 feet above the ground and lowers the package slowly. The company is one of the first companies to obtain FAA Air Carrier certification and has completed over a million flights on three continents.

The company is also working on the first commercial UAV carriage. However, it is still early to say what the commercial potential of drone delivery is. The technology has many uses, including rural conveyance. For instance, UAVs can deliver medical supplies to far-flung areas. For military purposes, they can be used to transport military equipment and other supplies.

Drones are more cost-effective than manned helicopter or aircraft operations. It is easy to imagine how it can benefit the environment and make deliveries that would otherwise be impossible. It is an environmentally-friendly way to transport goods and it also has the potential to save a company a lot of money on shipping costs.

heavy duty drone for delivery
Image by andri333 from Pixabay

The development of the drone delivery service has helped rural communities in developing countries. In fact, it has even improved the way a doctor or pharmacist delivers medications. A UAV can reach remote locations at a low cost and without human intervention. Companies like Zipline are using drones to deliver vital medical supplies to remote areas.

Zipline has successfully delivered covid vaccines to rural areas. Drones also improved the safety of emergency medical responses. Developing countries are especially vulnerable to a lack of roads. Similarly, helicopters and airplanes are prohibitively expensive. Using UAVs as medical couriers can help reduce travel time and reduce costs while increasing the availability of health supplies.

These small aircraft could transport vaccines and blood samples from remote villages to hospitals and labs in nearby towns. It requires less fuel than vehicles and doesn’t get in traffic congestion. Furthermore, they can improve the health of communities by reducing vehicle miles and causing fewer accidents. It could be a major step towards a sustainable future for all humanity.

Additionally, as drones don’t use fuel making deliveries can be more affordable. It can even be sent to remote islands. The cost of human labor is also significantly reduced, which means that UAV deliveries will be competitive. The importance of drone delivery is becoming increasingly clear as businesses seek new ways to expand their reach.

The technology has already been used in some areas to make deliveries that would otherwise be unattainable. As long as drone delivery can be successfully scaled, its benefits are clear. And these small aircraft are becoming more affordable than ever before. A recent study shows that drone deliveries could cut transport time in half from 30 minutes to eight minutes. However, companies will need to fight regulations before they can fully use them to their full potential.

Challenges of implementing drone delivery

While drone delivery has the potential to revolutionize the supply chain, there are still significant challenges. For one, the technology is unreliable and prone to signal interference from large structures and other sources of signal interference. Another obstacle is the need for regularly spaced controller “hubs,” which would require a great deal of costly infrastructure. Drones cannot withstand harsh conditions also.

Challenges remain with this type of transportation, including the lack of safe landing zones, difficulty in delivering packages in unfamiliar areas and the possibility of theft. Customer safety is an important issue and the development of drones must be carefully monitored to ensure customer safety. Another is concerned about the possibility of a hacked drone or being stolen while delivering their package.

The drone’s size is a challenge and the weight may push it beyond the limits of the drone’s capabilities. Moreover, drones can be noisy. It produces lot of noise when hovering over the ground. Noise from a UAV can reach up to 83 dB, which is as disturbing as a power lawnmower.

Companies that provide drone delivery services are trying to reduce noise by reducing propeller nuisance and using muffling devices. Yet another challenge is safety. Despite advanced hardware and software, drones can crash if they collide with a person or something. Therefore, UAV conveyance has to pass the FAA’s safety regulations before it can be used for commercial purposes.

Numerous logistical hurdles must be overcome before unmanned aerial vehicles can be used for delivery. Another potential obstacle that must be overcome is the lack of human monitoring. UAV deliveries in major cities will face many challenges, including the fact that they can’t access apartment units in skyscrapers. This presents an insurmountable challenge for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Regulations for this technology are not fully developed. Many countries still don’t have specific drone regulations governing autonomous delivery. Many general drone regulations don’t allow drones to fly out of the visual line of sight, which requires a human in the field to supervise their operation.

The success of drone delivery will require a coordinated effort from government leaders, providers and social advocates. The technology will need to meet the needs of the people on the ground and balance public safety and diverse interests. As with all new technologies, it is important to keep a close eye on consumer preferences.

Future of drone delivery

Imagine a society filled with drones. It cuts down on transportation costs, reduces CO2 emissions and helps deliver goods in previously unreachable areas. Restaurants could use drones to deliver food and fill vacancies. The future of drone delivery is looking brighter than ever.

While the technology may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, drone transportation has huge potential for increasing efficiency, cost savings and reducing environmental impact. Retailers that adopt drone delivery into their business operations have many advantages. They can avoid the hassle of hiring 3rd party companies, cut down on delivery times and avoid traffic jams. Additionally, it can offer completely customized solutions to customers.

A recent survey found that nearly one-third of online shoppers are either neutral or anxious about the potential of UAV delivery. While most are optimistic about the benefits of increased efficiency and lower cost, they also have concerns about the security and safety of packages. Despite these worries, many online shoppers still feel comfortable placing their orders with a drone.

Drone delivery will revolutionize package delivery. Aside from being able to deliver almost anything, they will go to places that humans can’t. Heavy-duty drones could replace trucks in inventory management or for moving goods from warehouse to warehouse. It will likely reduce the number of semi-trucks on the road. They can take a package from warehouses to houses within minutes.