Delivery Drone: Disruption In Shipping Industry

Delivery Drone

Imagine a sky full of drones, carrying small packages to speedily deliver to customers in their backyards and driveways. The drones can fly over congested streets and take the fastest routes over buildings and other obstacles. They can deliver to remote areas that cars can’t reach efficiently. This is a future some companies, including technology giants Amazon and Google, already support.

The rapid increase in usage of online ordering has increased the requirement of manpower to deliver in multiple folds. Drone-based technology is being used to meet this requirement. A quadcopter can achieve vertical flight stably and be used to monitor or collect data, delivery in a specific region. With advancing drone technologies and increasing commercial usage, we believe the last mile shipping industry is ripe for disruption by delivery drones. Drones can significantly accelerate delivery times and reduce the human cost associated with the delivery and also to the drone manufacturers. This report examines the value chain and opportunities in the delivery drones market. It also discusses the barriers to adoption. Will the day come, when we look above and see thousands of drones busily zipping along to deliver mail, parcels, medicine, pizza, and any other small to medium-sized item?

It is probably only a matter of a few years before we have our skies full of drones delivering parcels. There certainly are loads of technical challenges to overcome.

How quickly a drone can deliver items, however, may be impacted greatly by:

  • Location of the warehouses they are launched from
  • Airspace they are legally allowed to fly through
  • Weather, including rain, wind speed, etc.

Here are the top delivery drones, which are being used by the largest companies for delivering parcels and are featured below;

Possible Benefits:

  • Reduced roadway congestion due to fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by delivery vehicles.
  • Improved safety due to fewer at-grade rail crossings associated with less heavy traffic and fewer conflicts between delivery vehicles and other travel modes.
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions, as smaller and lighter packages, are transported via drones rather than traditional delivery trucks.
  • Greater route flexibility compared to traditional delivery vehicles, thus enabling drivers to avoid delivery stops at highly congested locations.
  • Reduced roadway and bridge maintenance costs due to less use by delivery vehicles.
  • Drones are easy to disinfect and sanitize after each delivery.
  • They offer touchless delivery and you do not need to be in direct contact with anyone.
  • The goods can be hermetically packed which minimizes the risk of virus contamination.

How COVID-19 has increased the need for the drone delivery market:

The common expression throughout the pandemic, “we’re all in this together,” now includes drones. Because when it comes to social distancing, delivery drones are by definition, perfect. They certainly have the distancing portion down pact and they’re not particularly social.

Drones have become an important tool in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by helping them create more resilient supply chains and serving as the perfect device to deliver items from the oft-mentioned six feet away. The pandemic has proven to be a driving force for drone innovation as communities and businesses have started to recognize that the utility and positive impacts of drones outweigh the potential risks.

Once regarded as a nuisance buzzing around our heads and cities, drones are now arguably a life-saving tool as the battle against COVID-19 rages on. According to a report from UNICEF, eighteen countries have developed drone delivery and transportation purposes during the pandemic, of which Canada and the US are included. Three countries in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Rwanda, Ghana, and Malawi, reported the use of drones to deliver regular medical commodities, COVID-19 supplies, and medical samples since the pandemic began last March.

Several reports have also highlighted drone's use of aerial spraying of disinfectants in public outdoor spaces which have also allegedly helped to contain the spread of the virus. UNICEF says some companies claim they managed to cover 3-square-kilometers of an area with a single elongated spray.

Not unlike how the First World War drove the innovation for the first commercial airplanes, COVID-19 has accelerated the use of drones for the delivery of goods as people began to rely on the machines for help.

The future of delivery drones, post-COVID:

According to a Research and Markets report from February, drones could account for one-third of same-day deliveries by 2030. The estimates have started to become clearer as the pandemic has enabled faster and more expansive testing of drone delivery systems. With the quieter skies because of the lockdowns, drones have found space to accelerate their growth and development since the pandemic began.

“The drone delivery service market analysis projects that the market is expected to grow at a significant CAGR of 14.5% based on value during the forecast period from 2023 to 2030,” says the press release. “Asia-Pacific is expected to dominate the global drone delivery service market with a share of 39% by value in 2023. Asia-Pacific, including the major countries, such as China, Japan, Singapore, and Korea are the most prominent regions for the drone delivery service market. In North America, the U.S. is expected to acquire a major market share in 2023 due to the increasing demand for fast last-mile deliveries.”

One of the drone market’s biggest obvious advantages is the ability to take off and land vertically in small areas. While they require less space than helicopters or planes, the industry’s biggest concerns include building sufficient scaling that proves it can become cost-effective, and lingering privacy concerns regarding the aircraft hovering above cities and homes will need to be addressed.

How Delivery Drones Are Being Used to Tackle COVID-19:

Drones are being used in all kinds of ways to tackle the coronavirus. Some of these applications are highly questionable. Others, such as the use of delivery drones, are more relevant. But the use of cargo drones in response to the pandemic also needs to be questioned. Being more relevant doesn’t mean that all cargo drone projects are inherently impactful. This topic is of particular interest to WeRobotics and Flying Labs as we’ve been deploying cargo drones since 2016. Flying Labs are run entirely by local experts who tackle health, humanitarian, environmental, and development problems by deploying robotics and AI responsibly. Together with Flying Labs, we’ve Delivered medicines and blood samples in the Amazon Rainforest with BD; Collected TB samples from remote clinics in Nepal with BNMT; Run cargo drone training and flights with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Papua New Guinea.

Why contactless drone delivery is a must in quarantine:

Delivery services have become our go-to option long ago because our lives are always quite busy. It is more time effective to make an order in a couple of clicks and wait till it's delivered than to go to a store and spend some time on choosing the food or goods and waiting in line to buy them. To order food delivery right to your office or to your home has also become our habit.

Delivery made our lives easier and couriers were always welcome at our houses. But now with the outbreak of coronavirus, people tend to make use of contactless services more often. It is quite understandable because nobody wants to get infected. Coronavirus is dangerous and you cannot be 100% sure if the courier you are interacting with is healthy and virus-free. Therefore, drone delivery can be the best option for both companies selling their goods and people ordering them. Such business giants as Amazon, UPS (United Parcel Service), Alphabet (the parent company of Google) together with FedEx, and huge e-commerce company Alibaba already use drone delivery technology.

According to the report that we’ve discovered, the global drone market will grow to 43 billion U.S. dollars in 2024. It is also stated that drone delivery will become the most popular and fastest-growing area within the market. At the moment around 40% of online shoppers claim that drone delivery will not make them refuse from buying goods and 36% of shoppers are already excited to try out this new option. 

Key advantages of drone delivery

So what exactly makes drone delivery such a great option in times of pandemic? Apart from being safe (which is crucial in the current COVID-19 situation), this type of delivery offers numerous advantages:

  • Drones are easy to disinfect and sanitize after each delivery.
  • They offer touchless delivery and you do not need to be in direct contact with anyone.
  • The goods can be hermetically packed which minimizes the risk of virus contamination.
  • The packages can be delivered to people who live in the outlying areas.
  • The delivery takes less time (e.g. the courier driving a car or riding a bike can get stuck in traffic and deliver a package in an hour or more, while a drone can accomplish this task in less than 30 minutes ).

Conclusion and future scope

The aspect of this journal is the future of technology. Manual delivery will not be able to satisfy the demands of the human race in the future. Drones will become a necessity and will be of immense use in the delivery of packages and couriers to their respective customers. In the future, people will become so engrossed in their work that they would not have time for collecting parcels and packages separately. Thus these drones will ensure the correct delivery of their demands in their current positions that is wherever they are. For this system to work properly, image processing also has to be implemented to remove obstacles in the delivery path. If the dangers or obstacles are intermittent and sudden due to a storm or Bad weather which is harmful, the drones will eliminate it from the path using a laser. For a more advanced and efficient System of work and delivery the drone delivery system in the future will be AI-controlled that is self-processing and implementing. They will be self-processing the path if there are any living objects as an obstacle through algorithms. 

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