March 9, 2021

Drone Delivery: the future of logistics 

In recent years, drones – in their many forms – have become increasingly prevalent across a range of industries, amongst them  entertainment and recreation, agriculture, photography and military operations. Whether noticed or not, drones now benefit us in a multitude of ways, from monitoring the growth of the food we eat, to New Year’s Eve light shows. As the technology evolves, the list of tasks we assign drones to support or assume continues to grow.  

The delivery and logistics industry is at the forefront of this next stage of growth, with commercial drone delivery services fast becoming a reality.  

Drone delivery has the potential to revolutionise the way goods are transported, making it faster, cheaper, and more efficient than  existing methods. The concept of drone delivery is simple: a drone is loaded with goods and flies to its designated destination, where it drops off the package. The process is much faster than traditional shipping methods, which require trucks, planes, and other vehicles to transport goods. What’s more, drones can be used to deliver items to remote locations that would otherwise be inaccessible. This makes drone delivery an ideal solution for rural areas, as well as for emergency relief efforts in areas affected by natural disasters. 

 The idea of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver goods has been talked about for years.With advances in technology and regulations and a growing appetite for contactless solutions during the Covid-19 pandemic,  it is now becoming a reality. The first commercial drone delivery service was started in 2016 by Amazon, who announced that they would be using drones to deliver packages to customers in the United Kingdom. However, this was a very limited trial in a very small geographic area. Since then, other companies have followed suit, and the idea of drone delivery is now a permanent feature in many countries around the world. Skyports has been leading the way on this in Singapore and the UK.  

The benefits of drone delivery are numerous. First, the cost of delivery is significantly lower than traditional methods, as drones are much cheaper to operate than other forms of transportation. Additionally, drones can fly above other forms of transportation, allowing them to avoid traffic and other obstacles. This allows for much faster delivery times, as well as greater safety for those on the ground. Another benefit of drone delivery is that it is much more environmentally friendly than other forms of transportation. Since drones do not need to refuel, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is much lower than with traditional forms of transportation. In fact, they are zero emissions at the point of operation. Work is underway to ensure that energy can be sourced from renewables sources to ensure it is legitimately Net Zero.  

The technology behind drone delivery is now maturing and the potential for it is tremendous. Drones can fly farther and faster than traditional delivery methods and can access places where traditional methods may not be able to reach. This makes them ideal for delivering goods to remote areas, such as rural and disaster-stricken locations. Additionally, drones are relatively low-cost, allowing companies to save money on delivery costs. 

How much faster is drone delivery? 

The speed of drone delivery varies depending on the type of drone and its payload. Generally, drones can travel up to speeds of 60 mph or more, which is much faster than traditional delivery methods like ground transportation. In some cases, drone delivery can be up to 10x faster than traditional delivery methods. 

One of the major challenges with drone delivery is safety. As drones are unmanned, they must be programmed to follow a set of rules and regulations to ensure that they don’t cause harm to people or property. Additionally, special regulations must be put in place to ensure that drones are not used for malicious or illegal activities. 

One of the major advantages of drone delivery is that it can be done autonomously, meaning that no human pilot is necessary. This also eliminates the need for expensive labor costs associated with traditional delivery services. Additionally, the use of drones can significantly reduce the environmental impact of delivery services, as they produce a fraction of the emissions of traditional delivery methods. 

How much would drone delivery cost? 

The cost of drone delivery depends on many factors, such as the size and weight of the item being delivered, the distance of the delivery, and any additional services needed. Generally, the cost of a drone delivery can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. 

What are the disadvantages of drone delivery?  

1. Security and Privacy Concerns: Drones are a relatively new technology and there are concerns about their ability to protect the security and privacy of customers. Like any risk, a reputable organisation should manage this appropriately as part of their cyber security policy. Many manufacturers now include privacy-by-design to ensure data is not stored or is deleted as soon as possible. AI can automatically blur any person from survey data. 

2. Regulatory Issues: Drone deliveries are not allowed in many countries due to strict regulations. In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has many restrictions on the use of drones, including where and when they can be used. Other countries like Singapore and the UK, where Skyports operate daily drone flights, are much more embracing of new technology. 

3. Cost: Drones are expensive to purchase and maintain, and their use to make deliveries can be costly. Utilizing the technology through an operator like Skyports can help dramatically reduce these costs as capital expenditure is spread over a number of different commercial use cases.  

4. Weather Conditions: Drones are not able to operate in severe weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, and strong winds. Although the limits for commercial grade systems are much higher than they have been in the past. Many drones also now have ratings like IP68 & IPX8, 

5. Limited Range and Payload: Many drones are limited in range and carrying capacity. This limits the types of items that can be delivered via drone. Skyports generally operate with payloads up to 10kg flying up to 50km away. This is increasing rapidly as technology, safety and regulations all advance in unison.  

Does drone delivery have a future? 

Drone delivery certainly has a big future. In recent years, drone delivery has become increasingly popular due to its efficiency and convenience. Companies like Skyports, Amazon, DHL, Manna and UPS are already using drones to deliver packages, and many other companies are exploring the possibilities of drone delivery. As technology advances and regulations become more streamlined, drone delivery is likely to become a commonplace way of delivering packages. 

Companies are already investing in the technology, and the potential applications are vast. Drone delivery could ultimately revolutionize logistics, making delivery times faster and cheaper. In addition, drones can be used to deliver medical supplies to remote areas.