Here’s The Latest On Drone Delivery

Posted: Jun 18 2018, 12:01pm CDT | by , in News

 
Here’s the Latest on Drone Delivery

Recent Developments Prove Drone Delivery is More Than Fantasy

Perhaps you’ve seen news stories or read articles in the past about how packages will eventually be delivered to your doorstep via drones. Maybe you thought it was crazy, cool, or unrealistic. But you may be surprised to learn that it’s no longer just a fantasy. Drone delivery has already started, albeit on a small scale, and there’s reason to believe it could become the new normal within a matter of years.

Are You Ready for Drone Delivery?

Drones have been around for a while, but they’ve just recently entered the mainstream discussion. While the general public likes to fly them for entertainment and recreational purposes, businesses and governments have long used them for agricultural monitoring, border surveillance, military strikes, disaster response, and search and rescue missions. But using drones in isolate situations is one thing. Transitioning into a world where there are thousands of drones in the sky at once is a much bigger deal.

The first concern is safety. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken some major strides in this area over the last couple of years. Drones that weigh between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds now have to be registered, even if they’re only being operated recreationally.

The second concern is the perception of the general public. Will the average citizen be comfortable with unmanned vehicles flying above their homes and dropping packages on their doorsteps? We’re about to find out.

Giving Drone Delivery the Green Light

In the jungles, forests, and remote parts of Rwanda, getting lifesaving medical supplies to doctors and their patients is a huge challenge. Blood is especially hard to get a hold of, since it doesn’t last very long, but drone startup Zipline International believes it has a solution.

“A doctor in Rwanda with a patient in need and too little blood on hand can send a text to Zipline with the blood type and number of units needed. The blood is loaded into a box with a parachute and onto an autonomous plane — which drops the package at the designated hospital in 30 minutes or less,” Sara Salinas writes for CNBC.

Rwanda might seem like a long way away, but drone delivery is also becoming a reality stateside.

Residents of Loveland, Ohio now have the option to opt into a program that’s been developed between the FAA and a company called Workhorse Group. In doing so, they can summon drone delivery with a dedicated app that’s connected to existing online ecommerce platforms. The drones can deliver a 10-pound package, fly up to 50 miles per hour, and stay airborne for as long as 30 minutes at a time.

Currently the program is being used in the so-called “last mile” of delivery. It’s anticipated to save money on shipping costs and speed up delivery of certain packages. The drones launch from the back of a van’s roof and immediately return after delivery.

Loveland isn’t the only place where drones will deliver, though. The U.S. Department of Transportation just recently gave approval to 10 different areas across the country to set up test sites for drone delivery. The hope is that these isolated test areas will provide a safe space to work out kinks and flaws before more widespread adoption happens.

Challenges and Hurdles Await

While significant progress has been made, we’re still a few years away from a reality where Amazon and other ecommerce providers deliver thousands of packages a day with drones. The first order of business is to make sure everything is safe. After that, the final legal and financial challenges must be overcome. At this point, drone delivery will morph into a billion dollar industry.

This story may contain affiliate links.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/68" rel="author">Larry Alton</a>
Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

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