Monday August 17, 2015
With so many people talking about drones and how they can be used in the future, we’ve written a few blogs about their use in parcel delivery. Every few months there is another development and this time I was contacted by the Guardian for my views on how SMEs could benefit from the drone industry. It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot over the past few months and I was happy to share my views.
There’s no doubt that there are concerns about drones being used in parcel delivery. Whether worrying about the safety of your goods or the aircraft in general, the legislation or limitations in their ability, there are many questions to be answered. With such powerhouse companies as Amazon investing heavily in the technology, it does seem that drones will be an inevitable part of the parcel delivery puzzle in the future but the question is how smaller SMEs can benefit from the technological advances of Amazon.
The average diesel truck costs roughly $1 a mile whereas a drone is just 3 cents a mile making it a very attractive prospect. The reality however is that due to the strict limitations of use, drones will only be able to be used for a proportions of deliveries and as such will not replace human parcel delivery services any time soon – a relief to many.
Drones are only capable of lifting a couple of Kilos so anything heavier simply isn’t possible with this technology. This isn’t so much of a problem for Amazon who claim that 86% of their deliveries fall within this weight limitation, but it may not be as suitable for other companies. Here at My Parcel Delivery for example, only 32.5% of the parcels booked could be delivered by drone as the average weight of parcel is 8.5kg. That’s a long way from the 2.25kg maximum weight allowance.
There are also limitations in the distance that a drone can cover for parcel delivery. The maximum distance allowed is 10 miles or 30 minutes flight time. Clearly this means that drones can’t be used for international parcel deliveries or even parcel deliveries to the far corners of Great Britain. While this is disappointing, it certainly doesn’t rule out drones use in parcel delivery in the future. In this fast paced world, the need for same day deliveries is increasing with customer expectations rising every single day. Drones offer a unique opportunity to deliver lightweight parcels within a small radius in a matter of minutes.
But when all is said and done, at the moment only companies like Amazon can hope to have drone parcel delivery implemented in the short term. It is through their investment that SMEs can later benefit from this innovation. My prediction is that if all the hurdles are overcome, not least the legislative issues, SME’s could have the chance to use drones for parcel delivery in the next 5 years or so. This may sound like a long time but believe me…it will fly by!
You can read more about this in the Guardian, with extra opinions from Ben O’Leary, who runs an aerial filming and drone photography company.