Nowadays, it is common to hear about things such as self-driving cars and other automated innovations in technology that have been on the horizon for years. However, a new piece of sleeper technology is the flying delivery drone. Spearheaded by Amazon, this new delivery drone may make quite an impact on the way we live our lives in the near future.
It is hard to know what the end result will be for companies looking to incorporate this new method of delivery, however, we have some clues. Recently Walmart has purchased the Amazon competitor Jet.com which is another step up for Walmart as they close the gap in competition with its closest rival. There is no wonder why Amazon has been so secretive with their plans since using a new device such as a drone for delivery would cut down a lot on delivery time and be a major step ahead of all e-commerce competition.
If drone delivery becomes fully operational it will have several other advantages to the competition as traditional forms of delivery can be late or go to an incorrect address. When operational, the drones would be controlled by staff members of the delivery company and be delivered on the same day we order.
To quote the New York Times:
“When I began talking to others in the drone industry about Amazon’s interest in autonomous flight, they all pointed out that drones offer a way to leapfrog roads. Because they operate in a new, untrammeled layer of physical space — below 400 feet, an airspace that is currently unoccupied in most of the country — they open up a vast new shipping lane.”
This is good news for shipping companies as current forecasts predict that unless there are major changes to the highway infrastructure in the United States, the roads will be terribly overcrowded and congested by the year 2040. Clearly our current methods of shipping and transport are in need of an overhaul as this highway congestion will affect a wide variety of factors in people’s daily lives.
Given that drone technology has only been around for a short time it is not surprising that it is the rules and regulations that are preventing this idea from becoming a full time operation for many companies. The technology is at a point where it would be entirely possible to put into effect, however, the major roadblock right now are the current laws surrounding drones. The current laws set in place by the FAA dictated that commercial use of drone is prohibited. At the moment, the only operation of drones that is allowed is where the operator is within the line of sight of the drone therefore preventing deliveries on an industrial scale.
Being able to open up new avenues for delivery options is going to be critical for major delivery companies. Given the sheer number of businesses interested in this idea and the fact that companies like Amazon are spending millions of dollars in lobbying for a change in regulations we will probably see a change very soon.
With the tight regulations in the U.S hampering development there have been many opportunities abroad to test and further the research needed to make this idea happen. Testing is currently underway in places like the U.K, Israel and Canada. It would appear that for now the major long distance testing will continue to happen outside the U.S and perhaps the concept of a long distance drone delivery will be implemented outside the U.S first.
The first spots considered for this new type of service will be areas of a light to medium density. Areas where deliveries are typically more difficult will be the first spots to be awarded this new service. Keeping things simple in the beginning will give these companies time to adjust to other potential problems such as telephone wires and high rise buildings.
With major shipping companies putting a lot of pressure on the government, we are bound to see a change in the laws in the future. With current regulations being what they are, we still may need to wait for some time until we receive our packages from the sky on the same day we order.