How 🛸 DELIVERY DRONES 📦 are changing the Drone Industry
Updated: Feb 27
Drones are like children or puppies, relying on human attention and supervision to get things done, yet slowly but surely they are getting more self-dependent and self-reliant in part thanks to such retailers as Walmart, Amazon, Google.
These companies are bridging the gap with the public via a drone delivery service.
Amazon has been testing delivery drones since 2013 and in the summer of 2020 got the FAA [thats Federal Aviation Administration] approval to operate a fleet of delivery drones.
Wallmart partnered with Quest Diagnostics and a drone technology startup DroneUP to make contactless deliveries of Covid-19 self-collections kits to customers in North Las Vegas, where I am standing right now.
Google Alphabet Wing received commercial air carrier certification from the FAA in 2020 while UPS Flight Forward is the first in the country to receive a full Part 135 Certification that allows it to fly drones out of line of sight and operate as a drone airline.
With almost 2 million registered drones in the US alone and about 200,000 certified Remote Pilots, myself being one of them, autonomous flying drones need to overcome some major major obstacles:
For One. For Drone Delivery Service to become an everyday usual thing, flying over people, flying over moving vehicles and at night, which currently is prohibited, must be allowed. So the Regulators, the FAA stepped in and on December 28,2020 have updated their rules and will require drones to be equipped or retrofitted with REMOTE IDs that will allow for transmitting identification and location to interested parties.
Drone manufacturers have already been given an 18 month deadline to produce the next generation of drones equipped with Remote IDs.
With already heavy air traffic and expected tens of thousands of drones in the sky at any given time, keeping an eye on all of them and avoiding collisions will become a real test, especially with the drones becoming unmanned and autonomous.
Pilots are limited and expensive and Drones will have to rely on Artifical Intelligence to get the job done. Guys its gonna be real life SKYNET.
However, eliminating pilot involvement will eliminate pilot error, because you see most of the time pilots guesstimate while the machines are able to be more exact and use precise math as well as predictive algorythms and geometry to calculate optimal flight pathways. Tesla has been successfully utilizing similar technology for years and autonomous driving is estimated to be up to 94% safer. We can likely expect similar results from Autonomous flying. But for autonomous drone delivery service to become a reality, a whole slew of technological infrustructure must be put in place. Since drones are limited in their carrying capacity as well as flight range they are most likely to be widely utilized for last-mile delivery, which is the most expensive and the trickiest. Big box retailers will likely build Flight Control Hubs, think Airport Tower control, that will monitor the flights of all the drones in the area and will communicate with FAA.
Then Package Deployment Centers will be build from where drones will be loaded with cargo to be dropped off at your door. Its unlikely that drones will be landing at the drop off site since that will drain more of the battery and will allow for tampering with the machines. Humans are humans after all and are curious by nature. In the beginning most of the packages that drones will be able to deliver will be small, up to 5lb and that may not sound like a lot but according to Amazon 3/4 of all of their packages that they send weight less than that. A company called Zipline in Rwanda has been successfully operating a Drone Delivery Service for years delivering blood samples and medical tests to medical facilities. They got so good that the company boasts a 5 minute order-to-launch average time, which is truly impressive.
Autonomous Drone Delivery will save time and reduce costs. However, there are still many hurdles and challenges that need to be overcome, but rest assured your next small package is more than likely to be getting DROPPED OFF by a drone.
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