Drone Delivery Dream Starting to Become a Reality
People have been fantasizing about drone delivery programs for a long time and it looks like it’s finally happening.
According to Packaging Digest, Google, Amazon, Walmart and plenty more organizations are working toward aerial drone delivery programs. Imagine ordering an item online and receiving it in 30 minutes, rather than waiting a few days. Even in today’s immediate world, drones could speed up the immediacy.
In a Walker Sands Communications 2016 Survey, 79% of respondents stated that they would be either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to request delivery by drone if it meant faster delivery speeds. These 1,433 respondents believe we will soon be living in this drone-delivered world, as 26% expect drone delivery to be available in the next two years and 30% believing this technology will be available in the next five years.
E-commerce websites like Etsy, which has over 250,000 active users at any moment and more than 2 million new listings each month, will benefit from having yet another delivery option available for their customers. Roughly 73% of Walker Sands’ survey respondents admitted that they would pay up to $10 for drone shipping if it was available.
“What is it that a bike messenger can’t do, a delivery truck can’t do, FedEx can’t do?” asked Frank Ketcham, CEO and founder of Senord Technologies, which uses aerial drones to inspect infrastructure and properties. Ketcham is skeptical about the benefit of drones in the packaging deliver industry because the items that would be delivered aren’t necessarily needed immediately.
“There’s a very small segment where delivering by drone really makes sense,” added Ketcham. “It’s getting medications to people that are in remote areas — getting the serum to the dying baby.”
Flirtey, a Reno, Nevada, drone-delivery startup company, has already completed demonstrations of delivering medical items to those in need. Working along with Johns Hopkins, they transported medical supplies and bio-samples between an area of New Jersey and an offshore barge.
The New York Times reports that autonomous drones flying through the air could still be a few years off because of social issues and regulations, but it’s still much closer than self-driving cars, which many companies believe could soon come to fruition.
“It’s a vastly easier problem — flying than driving,” said Keller Rinaudo, co-founder of Zipline, another drone-delivery startup company that plans on delivering medical goods to Rwanda over the next few months. “If we had regulatory permission, we’d be delivering to your house right now.”
Despite a few glitches, social problems and laws and regulations to hurdle, it’s no doubt that drone delivery can soon change the way business is done and how the world operates.