Drones have now been utilized to deliver a wide ray of items, all types and sizes, but in a fairly easier, safe and sophisticated manner while the initial attempts and trials have met a thumping success. To further the trend, massive investment has been extended by big corporate in US, such as Walmart, Google, Amazon, UPS and even postal companies are not behind in the pursuit attempted to enrich drone delivery project. Now, one can easily foresee the time to be well within the spitting distance when buzzing devices will emerge from skies and would deliver the required stuff, just like some angel or fairy.
In other words, upcoming skies are likely to get filled with drones of various sizes and types, as our busy transportation arena and drones from various makes and brands will vie for easy short-time parking to unbind meds, pizzas, consumer goods, parcels and any such range of items.
Experts believe within a few years, the trend is going to unfold but they also don’t castigate (rule out) big challenges in the way needing our heed, alongside a bevy of privacy concerns. Then, it is also likely that drone delivery mode will be limited in scope.
Strategizing Investment In The Project:
Nevertheless, at Tech And Environment, we try to trace an armful of success stories and bring forth these before you, including pilot project tested recently and the associated myriad set of challenges, which stand in the way.
Enlisting a handful of drone models that are used for such a purpose, by mega business enterprises:
- Wing Delivery Drone,
- Matternet M2 parcel Delivery Drone,
- Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift Delivery Drone,
- Rakuten Tenku Delivery Drone,
- Condor parcel Delivery Drone,
- Zipline autonomous Delivery Drone,
- Flirtey Delivery Drone,
Let’s have a set of details about the purpose of drones here:
Courier Service Conducted By Wing Drone:
In April month of 2019, US’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) authorized Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company, to initiate Project Wing, which was meant to regulate drone flights in state of Virginia with commercial objectives to fulfil.
That was on August 18th, 2019, that declaration was made by Wing, a branch of Alphabet company indicating that goods delivery would start for prominent courier company FedEx Express, Walgreens and also favouring a handful of limited retailers. The purpose of project was to ascertain that the drones were (and still are) premium devices for aerial mobility and fully integrated to deliver essential healthcare products and to boost retail outlets located closed by. Such was just a initial trial which took place Christianburg, Virginia.
Such has now evolved as the independent service centring deliveries through drone with the following set of objectives:
- To overcome challenges posed by heavy traffic snarls found on roads,
- To reduce carbon emissions otherwise caused by rising number of vehicles running on the roads and keeping the latter busy,
- To ensure immediate supply of essential supplies such as medicines, blood pouches, blood samples food items etc, in pristine way within a short timeframe or when conventional options like delivery vans, driver, helper, warehouse location etc run out and so many other benefits too.
Further, Wing people are also working (with win win attitude though) upon the development of a unique framework for unmanned traffic management with which unmanned aircrafts will be guided to their target point to be descended and will also be cautioned about possible obstacles like trees, power cables, mountains, skyscrapers and even about other drones being operated in the sky.
However, FAA put a condition before Wing to establish the safety and security of such mode of package delivery made by drones. For instance, that such aerial devices and routes and deliveries made by Wing drones wouldn’t be harmful to people walking and driving on the road. In Australia alone, delivery drones owned and operated by Project Wing, have conducted over 70K deliveries wherein they were lowered deftly onto doorways, garages, backyards and nearby grounds, only to soar in operational efficiency and popularity.
UPS Drone Deliveries:
The enterprise, i.e. UPS, maintains a subsidiary UPS Flight Forward Inc, which bagged certification from US government to perceive and manage a drone airway. Besides, it was also planned to broaden the operational framework further to include medical colleges across America and also to other critical industries.
The organization is on the cusp of deploying drones for logistics purpose, while as of now, selective medical parcels are flown through bewitching drones which make easy lofty access to various parts of the country and scores of agencies have come forward to enable Swiss Post in this pursuit.
That was in 2015, that Swiss Post jumped onto the idea and drone testing was done for delivering mail and such was in collaboration with Swiss World Cargo and Matternet drone manufacturer. The objective was to study possibilities of drone technology and to calculate the cost benefits associated with it.
Later on, noticing the high-octane efficiency in drones other stuff, useful as per situation, such as relief supplies and health emergency parcels were also attached during the airlifts. Clearly, their hopes grounded deep into such premium flight-tech, came to life as efforts met a great success. Also, it was uncovered that taking air-route to transport lab samples, was relatively quicker than by road and such a narrowed time-length is always invaluable to patients, ask any ER staff!!!
Matternet M2 Drones For Delivering Parcels:
Such is a big and bright name in the sprawling drone technology field, when urban centres are to be accessed. No doubt, there is speed, accuracy and functional exclusivity and healthcare facilities are the major clients. It is well-established that it can carry a payload of upto a 4.4lbs and can swiftly cover a great distance of about 13 miles within just half an hour time.
In a major step forward, drone delivery stations are being constituted on ground enabling people to exchange parcels easily within specific zones.
Deutsche Post Service of Drone Delivery By DHL:
Just a handful of years ago, DHL Deutsche Post got better of Amazon and Google when the service of drone delivery was launched. DHL Parcelcopter, is a flying and carrying device, which is indeed very a caring effort, when delivery is conventionally a tedious effort due to heavy traffic or when there are natural impediments like rivers and mountains. As such, when critical deliveries are made in time, it contributes to health of individuals in such regions, with sparse connectivity otherwise.
Flying majestically like a plane, the VTOL Wingcopter Delivery Drone is developed in two major versions: Wingcoopter 178 and Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift and can even be operated in rainy weather and is ultra-light in weight. With a payload capacity of 2 kgs, it can easily touch the speed of 93 mph and can make easy reach upto 100 kms.
China’s JD.Com Parcel Drone Delivery Service:
Actually, a unit of China’s major e-commerce group JD which got a license for drone operations not beyond a province as of 2018 and with logistics purpose alone. Not surprisingly, such was a revolutionary move in China and drone operation gathered focus from all and sundry. Currently, as I write this article, 7 other provinces in China are currently in its fold, namely, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, Hainan, Qinghai, Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi.
As always, where there were challenges earlier, in reaching easily and exactly like in hilly areas or in places with thin infrastructure, distribution of essential supplies is thumpingly done now.
Rekutech Tenku Delivery Drone:
JD.com managed to unlock the support and assistance from Rakuten Delivery Drone which rustles out a delivery drone in every few days. Tenku multicopter delivery drone, as of now, is jointly developed by Rakuten and ACSL (Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory)which enjoys strong backing in Chiba University.
Done Delivery Service In Japan:
Now here, relentless efforts and robust Japanese intent is commendable, as numerous projects are getting teeth here and drones are being flown for a variety of purposes, all are led by Rakuten. Rakuten is a business enterprise based in Japan with a massive workforce too and has now directed its interest in developing drone technology.
Keeping the target of developing a resourceful framework for drone delivery intact and which would serve logistics industry as well as retailers there, DDC company designs drones by incorporating premium software, specification and patent architecture.
In February of 2019, latest breed of cargo drone was set in air, and named it Condor by Drone Delivery Canada (DDC). Condor is designed to carry huge mass of upto 180 kg and can cover a stretch of 125 miles. With a wide wingspan of 20 feet, it gains power from gas engine.
The flight dynamics are just similar to a typical UAV but it is also an amalgamation of some aspects from logistics industry. As for operations management, a platform is there to guide about routes, geographical frontiers, logs, Preventive maintenance scheduling, tracking etc. Other than this, unique business strategy was announced in which key economic sectors critical to economic growth of Canada, were included and operational planning was customized to cater to such sectors like healthcare, oil and gas, mining, pharmaceuticals, farming, building construction and courier services.
In our upcoming article, I shall highlight drones services in India and what guidelines or regulations, our government has put up in this regard…..Please stay tuned…..