Logistics and manufacturing companies are looking into more advanced technology for their business needs. This includes AI, IoT, 3D printing, and also delivery drones.
Drone technology has made enormous strides over the past decade. As a result, major players within the e-commerce industry are starting to actively look into the potential of this technology to handle deliveries.
McKinsey, a global management consultant firm, estimates that in the future up to 80% of all items will be delivered by autonomous vehicles and drones. Consequently, many people are asking the question: are delivery drones really the right way to go for delivery logistics?
What are the advantages of drone delivery?
Those in favour of drones claim that this technology offers a more cost-effective and speedier alternative to traditional road haulage. E-commerce companies identified last-mile delivery as one area in particular that would benefit from drone technology. Drones could potentially slash the travel time for last-mile delivery thereby increasing efficiency, saving time and cutting costs.
In 2015, Amazon started testing cargo drones with the launch of Amazon Prime Air in a few select locations around the world. The aim of this service is to deliver products to customers within 30 minutes. Amazon projects the increased distribution efficiency brought about by drones could result in cost savings of up to 80% for last-mile shipping alone.
What are the challenges facing delivery drone technology?
There are still a few critical issues that will need to be tackled before the widespread adoption of delivery drone technology. The biggest issue is restricted air space which means that there are many areas which are still off-limits to drones. Furthermore, limited battery life means that drones can only travel for small distances with very small loads. In contrast to delivery trucks which can carry hundreds of packages at a time, an individual cargo drone typically has a capacity of just 5 kilograms.
For more information, check out the below infographic guide from 2Flow to find out more about how the e-commerce sector could benefit from delivery drone technology.