Service delivery is set to experience a major paradigm shift with fast advances in drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) technologies. These technologies offer unique capabilities and functionalities to support various civilian applications, including traffic monitoring, firefighting, surveillance, agriculture, and package delivery.
Particularly for package delivery to end users, drones offer a ubiquity (i.e., anytime, anywhere), economic, quick, contactless, and environmentally friendly alternative. Several logistics firms, including Amazon, Google, and Alibaba, are investing in drone technology for delivery services.
In a skyway network, made up of line segments with endpoints that make up the network’s nodes, a package is transported using a drone from one location (such as a warehouse rooftop) to another.
The composition of drone delivery services creates a value-added service while meeting end-users QoS requirements, which include fast, safe, cost-effective, and contactless delivery. Drone-based delivery services provide myriad benefits from dual perspectives: service providers’ and service consumers’ perspectives.
Service provider perspective
A drone delivery service provider typically manages the delivery of packages to final customers while owning and operating a drone fleet. A warehouse with its fleet for product delivery could be a provider. A provider could also be a shipping and logistics business like UPS, Amazon, or Wing. Here are the main advantages from the standpoint of the service provider.
The main advantages for a service provider are cost reduction and profit growth. Delivery companies significantly reduce the cost of human labor by utilizing drones. One person can control a fleet of drones, unlike ground deliveries requiring numerous drivers. Only maintenance tasks and flight monitoring will require human intervention. Like an air traffic controller on commercial passenger planes, one employee would typically be able to keep an eye on several flights simultaneously. A third or less of what UPS charges for ground delivery is estimated to be the cost of each package delivered by drone.
Drones may be responsible for one-third of same-day deliveries by 2030, according to a recent study. The profit made by delivery service providers who embraced drone technology early will be reflected in this growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a recent increase in this rate. Lockdowns, quieter skies, and the demand for contactless deliveries sped up the testing and adoption of drone delivery systems. Between 2023 and 2030, the drone delivery service market is anticipated to expand at a 14.5% CAGR.
Nature of delivery orders
Amazon claims that 86% of their deliveries are under five pounds. Most commercial drones are only permitted to carry a certain weight, as permitted by flight authorities’ regulations. Therefore, delivery service providers that use drones can be sure there will be a high demand for them. Additionally, a drone delivery service provider may charge more for this added value because it can do so without incurring additional costs due to the quick delivery options provided by many businesses (for example, priority delivery in Uber Eats).
Medium and routing efficiency
Air is the quickest way to get from point A to point B. This is because there is less friction in the medium than on the ground. As a result, deliveries will be made more quickly, enabling drone re-use throughout the day. Furthermore, the route-based nature of air travel—point-to-point or controlled traffic in skyways—makes it simpler to distribute resources and determine relatively accurate delivery times and costs. Due to the infrastructure and traffic, these factors are unavoidable in ground deliveries. For instance, there are numerous instances of inefficiently planned multi-destination delivery trips when using in-ground delivery. Since these issues are lessened in the air, the reach is increased, and difficult-to-reach areas can be serviced. Because drone delivery has the advantage of using the air medium, it can cross rivers and difficult ground terrain.
Drone deliveries reduce carbon emissions and gain quantitative advantages. This is crucial for a company to brand itself as environmentally friendly. Additionally, the cost of an electric power source is typically lower for drones than for ground deliveries that use fuel.
Service Consumer Perspective
The end user who orders the packages may be a service consumer. Alternatively, a drone-based service user may be contacted by restaurants, warehouses, and other benefits recipients who could use such services to effectively ship their goods. Here, we go over some of the main advantages from the viewpoint of the service user.
Compared to terrestrial deliveries, drones provide a quicker option for package delivery. Alphabet’s Wing ensures quick delivery of packages by flying at a speed of 113 km/h. Another illustration is Amazon Prime Air, which promises to deliver packages in under 30 minutes. This feature is particularly important for the shipment of emergency supplies like defibrillators and medicine.
Costs for delivery could be reduced using electric and self-driving drones. Reduced service fees are one way these cost savings can be transferred to the final customers. The ability of drone technology to travel farther in less time and at a lower cost per mile is largely responsible for this cost reduction. According to estimates, operating costs for drone deliveries are at least 70% lower than those for van deliveries.
Convenience and reach
On-demand drone delivery can help customers feel more convenient as their desire for speed grows. Road traffic can be avoided, and deliveries made by drones are swift. Furthermore, the delivery of emergency supplies to remote areas is frequently hampered by conventional means of ground deliveries due to the lack of infrastructure, challenging terrain, and severe weather conditions. Drone deliveries have proven essential to overcome transportation, delivery, and distribution issues and get goods to the last mile.
A safer alternative to human-assisted deliveries is the contactless nature of drone deliveries. The demand for contactless deliveries rises, especially during pandemics, to stop the spread of disease. Additionally, because it is contactless, there may be less chance of consumer safety threats from imposter delivery drivers. Furthermore, due to the contactless nature of drone deliveries, many people experienced a decrease in face-to-face interactions and social anxiety disorders.