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23 Mar 2016: What do drones mean for the transport industry?
 

 

What do drones mean for the transport industry?

Following on from October last year when they launched the video of their first drone in package-delivering action, Amazon established itself as king of the drone market.

Amazon Drone in FlightIt is not just Amazon who have hold of this drone technology, Mattersnat have already enlisted drones to deliver medical resources from hospitals to places that are harder to reach and need medication. Successful drone flights and deliveries have only encouraged other big names such as Wal-Mart to look into the potential of these aerial arms.

At the moment, the relative new-ness of the technology means that postal regulations around the use of drones is quite tight, which is preventing a few businesses from adding a drone delivery tool to their operations.

Following on from October last year when they launched the video of their first drone in package-delivering action, Amazon established itself as king of the drone market. It is not just Amazon who have hold of this drone technology, Mattersnat have already enlisted drones to deliver medical resources from hospitals to places that are harder to reach and need medication. Successful drone flights and deliveries have only encouraged other big names such as Wal-Mart to look into the potential of these aerial arms. At the moment, the relative new-ness of the technology means that postal regulations around the use of drones is quite tight, which is preventing a few businesses from adding a drone delivery tool to their operations.
 

 

Drones: the potential

Sending a drone out is simple, given the starting location and coordinates of the delivery address, GPS technology is able to determine the most efficient route while still avoiding air flight paths and other aerial hazards. Its ability to fly in a reasonably straight line and avoid traffic and other obstacles related with van deliveries, means the package can be delivered with no delays.

All drones need to take flight is a starting and landing pad, they don’t even need to be activated using a remote either. This ingrained technology enables the drones to be deactivated if there’s a concern about theft.

The direct nature of a drone delivery drop will mean customers are able to get their product much quicker than before. Equally, this technology is transferrable into the medical and aid sectors, where supplies, medication and food could be dropped in places that are hard to reach.

However, drones currently aren’t able to travel that far from the point of activation because of their battery. They can travel around 10 miles in 18 minutes, but to travel further would require a battery change which is quite impractical.

 

Drones: the limitations

The small radius that a drone can travel is one of the limitations of this delivery method because it means that the drop locations have to be close to the warehouse. As a result, companies will have to limit these deliveries to high volume areas or open significantly more warehouses, which will be costly.

Drones are highly technical pieces of equipment, which leaves them susceptible to weather damage. When making deliveries across the UK, the wet, cold weather is something that can be counted on, leading to costly repairs or even times when the drone can’t fly.

As a relatively new piece of technology, drones are expensive and as such, a big investment for your company. The cost of drone delivery will undoubtedly be high to make it a viable purchase, which could deter the majority of your customers from using this speedy-service.

The biggest limitation of the drone technology, the limitation that ensures the freight and haulage industry will still thrive, is that they can only carry packages up to 5 pounds in weight and a certain size.

The speed that drones are able to deliver will increase consumers’ expectations for parcels to be on their doorstep quicker than ever before, which will mean more drivers and more operations across the country.


 
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