Drones are used in a number of applications within logistics and delivery, typically in the "last mile of delivery". Drones are being trialed to fulfill the role of deploying and delivering goods and services. In their report, "Drone Market and Industries 2021-2041
", IDTechEx analyzes the range of hardware, software, and sensors in the drone market. This article focuses on drone delivery use cases.
The vision of drone-based last-mile delivery finds meaning within the context of the fully automated delivery system in which human operators are limited to supervisory or repair roles. In this picture, the entire process from an order online to customer fulfillment takes place with minimal human intervention. Here, a fleet of drones flies in and out of local distribution centers delivering many small parcels. In this vision, the ongoing labor costs are reduced to the cost of retaining a skilled crew of fleet operators, and the cost of vans is partially replaced with a multitude of drones. Crucially, this approach may render fulfillment instant, helping online shopping to eliminate that last stronghold of bricks-and-mortar shops: instant customer satisfaction. This long-term vision of increased automation will ultimately happen, in one shape or another, but the timescales will be long, on the scale of decades.
We are therefore at the beginning of a long process. First, drones today are limited by technology constraints such as a limited battery
to delivering single, lightweight packs to a radius of 30min of a physical distribution center. Secondly, there are restrictions around the use cases of drones as they fly beyond the line of sight for delivery, which many countries ban. However, drones to remote locations for healthcare services, and have provided increased access and benefits to communities. It is likely that in the future these types of delivery use cases will be more common than for products and services, due to the regulatory flight limitations.
In the second decade, 2031-2041, IDTechEx predicts that the drone delivery market will grow to over $5Bn by 2041. This will be driven by the reduction of regulations around the use of drones for delivery. There is a real need for drone delivery, to remote locations for example. Therefore, it is predicted that once drone technology is able to safely fly a package between two locations, around built-up areas, and similar use cases, that there will be greater adoption for this technology.
In the market research report "Drone Market and Industries 2021-2041
", a range of use cases are discussed, including delivery, agriculture, mapping and localization, and security. The market research report covers a range of different topics around this emerging market and provides a detailed and concise overview of this topic area.
The drones market has continued to see growth throughout 2019 and 2020 according to IDTechEx
analysis. This is due to the vast range of use cases for which drones can be used, and their continued benefit to collect detailed data and mapping areas that are difficult to cover by humans.
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