23.4.2018 Technology

Logistics trends analysis: delivery by drone

Logistics trends analysis: delivery by drone

With the objective of digitalizing Europe´s Express logistics industry, we keep track of each logistics trend in detail. Especially on the subject of same-day-delivery the plans and ideas to technological innovations accumulate, to ensure the speed and flexibility of the last mile. Some start-ups like Matternet or Microdrones, but also Amazon or DHL with a million research projects have made it their task to revolutionize the package transport worldwide – with a technology that actually comes from the military sector: the drone. We examine the topic in more detail and would like to determine if the flying courier is the future of package delivery.

Autonomous delivery of packages

Drones should be suitable for urgent deliveries to remote areas – for example, for the delivery of important drugs. However also in urban areas, deliveries by drone can be delivered flexibly and within a narrow timeframe, and should further relieve the traffic.

All this should function completely independently: The drones will fly at 40 kilometers per hour and 60 meters high, even in windy and rainy conditions. No pilot is required, no ground staff; once activated, the system operates independently – or so in theory.

Legal hurdles and safety concerns

So, while there is progress in the drone’s technology, there are still substantial legal hurdles and safety concerns that prevent the practical use of logistics drones. These problems are furthered:

  • Drones currently have a tare weight of approximately 15 kg. The maximum weight of the cargo is 2.5 kg, which excludes the use of drones for certain groups of goods.
  • The maximum distance per delivery is currently 16 km.
  • The acquisition and operation of a delivery drone are very costly.
  • A flight with drones outside of the visual range of the pilot is currently in Germany not legally possible.

These delivery drones cannot be called more than micro - or small drones and would have to be equipped with additional safety technology, such as anti-collision radar. This, in turn, would limit the payload.

Is the drone delivery promising for the future?

Delivery by drone takes on the much-discussed theme of individual and flexible parcel delivery. Many customers want, in addition to fast delivery, their packages to be delivered directly and especially comfortably to their destination. In addition to the legal hurdles, however, more open questions remain. How, for example, would the delivery occur, if the drone is to fly through a door or a window? What happens to the package if the customer is not there?

And also, some experts doubt the autonomy of the delivery drones, because if even GPS, used by the navigation systems in the car, are not sufficient for a precise serving of targeted destinations. Some experimental testing deliveries by drone in the rural areas already worked out positively.

How these can be integrated into the cityscape one day, or whether it even comes this far, remains unclear.

When it comes to speed, sennder is the right partner for you. Specializing in express trips with a pick-up within 180 minutes, we will deliver your goods quickly and cost-effectively to your destination – for the time being, with vehicles ranging from passenger cars up to 40t trucks. Inform yourself and contact us with your transport request.