Applications, which are being developed every day with the use of UAS, are having constant growth and will remain increased in the future. We have commented many times different uses of drones in industrial applications, but this time we are going to focus on one of the most popular and where it is more visible to the general public. We are referring to the delivery of merchandise with UAS, or in another way the operation of UAS for logistics distribution.
The news that occasionally explains advances in this field as authorizations or the development of new trained aircraft to move goods, are not the real reflection of the situation of this activity and we are still far from that we can consider it as a normalized sector. One of the causes, which we have already mentioned in previous blogs, is the difficulty of operating BVLOS flights. But there are other causes so important or more, that logistics with drones are stopped.
Advances in regulations are one of them. Technological innovations go faster than their implementation in the reality of companies that wish to invest in drone logistics. This issue is logical and in the even more understandable aeronautical sector. Security is a basic principle to guarantee regulatory advances and in such a novel type of transport, these advances occur little by little and with the evidence of the previous experience, which allows to take safe steps. Imagine in the future delivers to final clients with merchandise through drones. From a large warehouse of companies like Amazon, thousands of drones daily can leave different destinations. It is true that improvements in filming traffic will occur, but we need to regulate and ensure low -level air traffic that we are going to generate. The foundations are being placed in Europe and the USA to organize and manage this traffic, but many unknowns are still clear.
We need drones capable of carrying superior payment loads and that have a greater than the current autonomy. On the other hand, the systems that are being developed for the management of safe air traffic, will produce an energy consume and therefore the batteries will be another critical elements for future development. Another of the elements that I consider a priority, within the technological innovations to be incorporated, are the DAA (detected and avid). A safe traffic in addition to guidance and control systems will require obstacle detection systems and avoid them.
On the other hand, the focus of merchandise to the final customer (B2C) is focused, but there is another very promising segment that constitute the B2B activities, such as the distribution of sanitary material to hospitals, supplies of medicines to pharmacies, light materials to production points, etc. Another consideration that must be done is that the use of UAS will hardly replace traditional logistics. The most likely scenario is that land transport and the air live together and that each of them contribute their strengths so that the distribution system is used by maximizing the advantages that each one offers, in each case.
Deliveries are continuously improving and customers already see normal supplies in 24 hours of any product. With the contribution of drones, we will be on stage that can be done normally deliver in an hour and even before. This will lead to a very deep transformation in logistics and sales strategies. The company will get used to having merchandise at times now impossible and at a reasonable cost, which is now unthinkable to imagine.
These changes will also imply new professions and new ways to sell the products. But we still have several challenges to overcome. One of them is like guaranteeing safe and simple deliveries in urban environments, but this will be subject to a new blog.
We are frequently repeating that all these transformations have to pivot around a key issue: social acceptance. This is one of the barriers that must be overcome and it is everyone’s responsibility, administrations, regulators, operators, investors, customers, etc. work together in a safe and useful UAS air traffic for society.