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How drones prove to be an optimal solution for last mile delivery

By Akshat Sharma 25th June 2019
Drones have become an optimal solution for last mile delivery.

Drones have become an optimal solution for last mile delivery. With primary benefits like fast delivery of goods, lower cost of operation and environment-friendly technology, drones will have a bright market for logistics shortly.

Last mile delivery is the final step in a product journey from warehouse to customer doorstep. It is the least efficient part of any logistics industry, making up to 28% of a product’s total transportation cost. Besides this supply chain process faces various challenges like congestion in urban areas, invalid or incorrect address details, hard-to-locate destinations and delay in deliveries up to 3 days.

The transportation industry is looking at alternatives to overcome the last mile delivery hurdles. To solve some of the supply chain issues many logistics industries are testing a host of different delivery methods, such as drone delivery. This method is expected to ease congestion and air pollution in cities.

Drones offer enormous long term potential for last mile delivery. But there are multiple administrative barriers, technological limitations, safety issues, and challenges in regards to public acceptance. While drones have the potential to significantly improve delivery times and reduce transportation costs.

It is predicted that last mile delivery will get more automated through the addition of delivery drones. While Google has already started public drone delivery service in Canberra Australia after the country’s aviation authority granted it regulatory approval. The drone market for commercial use is expected to grow over US$1.2 billion by 2020.

Drone logistics and transportation market forecast

Region wise drone logistics and transportation market growth is very significant. The drone logistics and transportation market is predicted to register CAGR at 20% from 2019-2022.  This increased utilization of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in commercial applications for faster delivery of goods is one of the major factors driving the growth of the drone market.

Various initiatives are undertaken by government organizations to accelerate the drone logistics & transportation market with different prospects. For example, The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) permitted SF Holding and JD.com to start sending packages by drone in some of the rural areas.

The companies are not only building a network for small drones but also for large autonomous fixed-wing drones for last mile delivery that will take-off from small airports to ferry bulk shipments between warehouses. 

Drone configuration for last mile delivery operations

Two types of drones are tested for the last mile delivery, multi-rotors and hybrid fixed-wing drones

The multi-rotor drones are the most popular types of drones available considering the ease of maneuverability. Depending on the size of the frame, propellers, motors, and batteries, multi-rotors can carry a payload up to 5 kgs and travel a maximum of the flying distance of 20 km. With a top speed of 60 km/hr at an altitude of 100 to 400m. These drones can deliver packages after landing on the location or can do in-air delivery through a mechanized wire system.

Hybrid drones consist of propellers and fixed wings, can take-off and lands like a copter and glide like a plane. There are several different configurations available, but typically have a body with two wings and a single rotor. The main benefit of fixed-wing is its ability to cover great distances on a single battery. Due to their higher engine efficiency, most fixed-wing type drones can fly for a couple of hours and cover around 400 hectares or more.

Future of Last mile drone delivery 

There’s no doubt that for last mile delivery, drones have the potential to become a faster, cheaper way to meet consumer demands. Most notably, drones could solve the last-mile delivery problems, slow and delayed deliveries and being the most expensive part of the supply chain.

As drones advance to become more regulated technology, companies will test drones for various verticals. Use cases could grow from just delivering objects to much more. The beginning of the new flow of logistics automation has already started. Many logistics companies already investing in delivery drones with the hopes of seeing increased efficiency, lower costs, and increased customer satisfaction.

We at JungleWorks are already providing last mile delivery solution by our autonomous drones. Optimize your final delivery operations through our automated drone delivery solution ‘TIDA’.

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