Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for cargo delivery has been a hot topic since the emergence of the unmanned technology within the commercial sector. Some of the biggest organisations across the globe have been investing time and considerable funds in investigating the numerous potential applications in this space.
More flexible regulatory structures have made Europe the testing destination of choice for consumer parcel delivery, with advancements in navigation and control systems alongside improved consumer understanding fuelling the sense of inevitability that UAV parcel delivery will become widespread in the not too distant future. The potential for ‘within-the-hour’ delivery services helps address the ‘final-mile’ urban logistics challenge as well as connecting more isolated regions with short-term delivery solutions. The consumer parcel delivery market will be met using primarily multi-rotor UAVs.
Current regulatory, safety and privacy issues still need to be addressed before UAVs are seen delivering parcels to homes or on the high-street, however the technology to offer this service does currently exist and is being tested and promoted by organisations like DHL, Amazon and Facebook.
UAVs are also seen as a potential contributor to the commercial cargo delivery market. Larger fixed-wing platforms offer a cheaper and more efficient alternative to current manned flights, but the suitability and integration of the technology still needs to be addressed.
The most exciting development in terms of UAV cargo delivery would be the potential for humanitarian air delivery. Across Africa, transport infrastructure limitations are being overcome using UAVs to transport medication, disease prevention equipment such as mosquito nets as well as vital blood supplies to regions affected by natural or man-made disasters.
The Commercial UAV Show offers an insight into each of the 3 logistics markets, reviewing future projects such as the construction of the world’s first drone-port in Africa in 2016.
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