Are drones taking jobs or improving operations? Eyes have been on the sky for final mile delivery for decades. Drone delivery is now a reality in many large cities, but opponents of the new technology are claiming that it’s taking peoples’ jobs, not being well regulated and impacting the public’s safety.
Is it possible, though, that the pros outweigh the cons? Is it time to look at drone delivery as a solution to your business?
Drones have come a long way in recent years. The FAA now allows the use of “civil” drones. In order to use a civil drone for your business, you must register the drone with the FAA and the person flying the drone must pass an FAA examination.
You can read more about the FAA requirements for commercial drone operators here.
In addition to FAA requirements, your state likely has their own set of requirements. We recommend contacting your Department of Transportation and local government officials to learn more.
Just like vehicles, there are dozens of types of drones available on the marketplace. For your final mile business, delivery drones are going to be the best fit.
Delivery drones are specially equipped to delivery small goods Typically they have some sort of carrying mechanism under them to transport the goods.
Many drones can carry about 4 kg for roughly 15-20 minutes or 5-7 miles, however the weight and dimensions that each drone can transport will vary with the model, as well as it’s flight time.
For an overview on a few final mile delivery drones currently on the market and where to find them, check out this article on Drone Lab.
Less Street Traffic
If you live in an urban area like Atlanta, you know the impact a few less cars on the road can have. While some final mile delivery options like UberEats and Lyft are putting more cars on the road, using drones for some deliveries could take cars off the road.
Better for the Environment
Many drones are battery powered, eliminating the carbon emissions that a final mile vehicle would emit. Because they do not run off gas, you’re also able to hedge your company from the volatility of gasoline prices.
Faster Delivery Times
UPS partnered with Matternet, a Swedish company who has mastered drone deliveries in their country, to bring medical specimen delivery to the U.S. They launched their program in March at Wake Forest Hospital in North Carolina.
By switching over to drone deliveries, UPS was able to cut their delivery time down to just minutes, a fraction of the time it took with a driver.
Hedging Against the Driver Shortage
The demand for final mile deliveries is increasing, and the number of drivers available is decreasing. Multiple drone deliveries are able to be managed by one remote worker, opening the marketplace to many other kinds of workers.
Drones in Use
Several companies are successfully using drones for their final mile deliveries today. See the list below to learn what has worked for them and how it might apply to your business:
- UPS and Matternet use drones for medical specimen deliveries.
- Amazon Prime Air may be one of the most famous drone users.
- Zipline launched the first commercial drone delivery company in Rwanda, delivering blood.
Is your business ready to use drones in the final mile?