Expansion in Shipping and Delivery
By: Shayla Powers
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a drone? We’ve all heard about them, and some of us may have seen them in action, but what threat, if any, do they pose to the trucking industry? Over the past few years, companies such as
Amazon have made huge expansions in regard to short-term, short-range shipping and delivery, guaranteeing that consumers can have their favorite products at their doorsteps within days. But how do drones stack up against standard truck delivery, the good old bread and butter of shipping?
The potential drawback that drones face is that they are only able to carry one or two packages at a time, and can presumably only hold parcels low in weight, whereas trucks can hold hundreds of packages and drop off more items per route, making the cost per parcel significantly lower. However, recent documents released by Amazon show that weight may not be as important of a factor as we originally thought; and since the products are now closer to the consumers than ever before, drone deliveries keep delivery times shorter—a goal that the shipping giants have always striven for.
Another core issue is the interference with airplanes and other aviation, especially in crowded urban areas. Flying commercial drones in populated areas is already prohibited under federal law, and companies may experience trouble obtaining permission to operate large quantities within a small radius. Assuming that the companies do receive consent to operate, the estimated cost of pilots to control them will significantly boost the price of delivery.
Drones seem like a pretty neat solution to a plethora of problems, but whether or not they have the economic advantage needed to surpass the standard delivery tactics that we utilize today is questionable and highly speculated. Despite the potential of higher costs per delivery, the shorter time frame will almost certainly solidify drone delivery as the future of shipping.
If you’d like to read more about the economic aspect of drone deliveries, visit https://www.flexport.com/blog/drone-delivery-economics.
If you plan on purchasing your own, be sure to read up on all the regulations: https://thedroneauthority.org/drone-licence.