Testing the latest technologies is the fun part of my work. I often purchase technology just to give it a test and ensure that I'm keeping up. Months ago, I purchased a DJI Mavic Air, and tested it with a few clients.
I'm not a gamer, so I'm pretty rusty behind a controller. After testing it on a few flights, I was amazed at how these devices practically fly themselves. The drone takes off and lands by itself, will adhere to ceiling limits, will fly programmed patterns, and will even follow hand signals.
With drones already getting so advanced, is drone delivery for retail and ecommerce coming soon? I'm not convinced it is. While delivery from stores and warehouses may only be minutes away and can significantly reduce shipping costs, there are quite a few issues to overcome with drones, including:
- Drone Safety – drones may have mechanical or other technical failures in flight. With millions of them flying in a city, we're bound to have property damage and, perhaps, even personal injuries.
- Privacy Concerns – no doubt that every drone will be recording its every movement. Are we ready for all of our daily activities being recorded overhead? I'm not sure we're ready for that yet.
- Flight Restrictions – I live near a municipal airport, so there's a ceiling on any flights that take. Drones flying low will make an immense amount of noise. Drones flying high may need to be routed around landmarks, buildings, and no-fly zones. We're going to have to build virtual highways… which may drag down the efficiency of point-to-point delivery and reduce the efficiencies drones will have on the last mile.
McKinsey projects that autonomous vehicles including drones will deliver 80% of all items in the future. And with 35% of consumers indicating that they are in favor of the concept, it’s clear that the use of drones is gaining popularity.
There's no doubt that drone delivery is coming, but there's a lot of thought and planning that needs to go into these challenges. This infographic from 2Flow, an outsourced fulfillment partner, examines the benefits and challenges associated with cargo drones and highlights how this technology could massively disrupt last-mile delivery.