Commercial drones might be relatively new, but we are seeing more of them in the skies with each passing year. According to a report published in 2018, the global market for smart commercial drones is expected to grow beyond $179600 million USD by the end of 2025.
Recreational drone use is expected to be a big factor for this growth. As iOS and Android mobile app developers in London and elsewhere engineering new technologies, recreational drone use will continue to grow in several sectors. However, much of this growth will come from the improving capabilities of drones and the expanded array of purposes to which they can be used. One such purpose is the potential for drones to be used by delivery services.
Several businesses from around the world are already working on the potential for drone delivery services. For example, the online retailer Amazon is already experimenting with their Prime Air in the UK, France, Austria, and Israel.
How Drones can Improve Delivery Services
Businesses like Amazon are not investing heavily in drones because they think it is an interesting way to deliver packages. They see it as a way to significantly improve their services and reduce operational costs.
The last mile of delivery accounts for most of the cost of delivering a package. By replacing human drivers with drones, delivery businesses expect to cut the costs of fuel and labor. Additionally, they also believe that it can be a way to help packages reach consumers more quickly.
While it requires a significant investment to develop these programs, delivery services expect drones to have a significant ROI. Furthermore, as customers get their packages faster and more conveniently, they expect drones to have a dramatic impact on customer satisfaction.
Drones could also be used to reduce the carbon footprint of a large delivery service. Since these small drones use less energy to get to their destination, this technology offers a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions for businesses that depend on delivering products to the consumer.
Even with these obvious benefits, a future with drone delivery services does come with some negatives. As drones take over more delivery tasks, the need for human drivers will decrease resulting in some people losing their jobs. Ultimately, this implementation of drones could have a wider ripple effect on the broader economy.
There are also issues with the public perception of drones. In one survey, 54% of respondents said that drones should not be allowed to fly near private residences. This could be an issue given that you are trying to use drones to deliver packages to consumer’s homes.
The Future Impact of Drone Delivery
One key impact of drone delivery services is that drone technology is going to improve quickly. Right now, the technology can only support a limited use. As delivery services push to expand the use of drones, the technology is going to have to advance to meet the demands.
One way the technology will have to improve is in the ability of drones to communicate and use real-time data. The drones are going to need to be able to communicate with dispatch centers and receive data about changing orders when they are already deployed in the sky.
Drone delivery services could put increased pressure on physical retail locations. As drones make online shopping more convenient and further reduce costs, businesses that rely on the in-store experience will struggle.
New delivery systems will also require changes to procedures at different points in the process. If drones are expected to receive packages quickly and deliver them in less than half an hour, fulfillment centers are going to need to prepare the orders for drones quickly, and they will need employees with specialized skills to work with the drones.
As the technology develops and concerns with regulation and privacy are addressed, we can expect drones to start taking over some of the work for delivery services. Right now, there are only a few smaller test projects in a few locations, but drones are expected to become a common feature for delivery services over the next few years.