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Will drones ever replace delivery trucks?

Will drones ever replace delivery trucks?

Many  companies are not looking to replace their existing delivery systems with drones, rather they are looking to augment it.


At the moment,  drone doesn’t represent a more efficient or cost effective solution what it does is allow the company to charge a large delivery fee only on certain items and only to certain addresses for a delivery mechanism that is far cheaper to use.


For sure , drones will not  be able to deliver sofas. Some people, however, might pay $20 for a 3o min delivery and that will only cost the company $0.03 in electricity for charging a drone’s battery.


So while not more efficient nor capable of delivering a sofa or any such big items, it will increase revenue which is what the companies are really about.

Will drones ever replace delivery trucks?

How is drone delivery more efficient or cost effective than a fleet of trucks?

There are lots of CONDITIONS into it. Let’s look into it.

1.Can you get a drone delivery permit in your country?

Talking about the drone delivery then, there are countries, which do not permit drones to deliver yet.  However, FAA in USA approves drones.

They have approved thousands of drones. So , where you live matters.

What is your delivery-load?

The second condition is what is the weight of the products you want to deliver.

A drone can fly 50 minutes with 2 kg of weight.

If you are looking for delivering washing machines Or sofas , then drones are not the options for you.

Table of Contents

Advantages of Drone Delivery Vs. Truck Delivery

Drones process can be fully  automated:


The idea is that soon the delivery process will be automated, with no fuel costs, no human costs — besides for maintenance of the fleet of drones (minimal, as they are becoming very reliable). With positioned, strategic “drone ports” all over the world, delivery will be seamless and hassle-free.- However first we must cut through the red-tape — regulations, or lack therof.

Drone Delivery can be cost-effective


Talking about the cost efficiency then, drones can save you a lot of cost. This is how drones save you.

  1. They can help you deliver in remote areas.

This is where it’s hard for truck to go. It’s even harder at heights and during the bad weather conditions. Meanwhile drone can do it all.

2. Traffic congestion is never an issue

You can introduce half an hour delivery concept with drones. this is because there would never be any problem with the traffic.

3. Drones are rechargeable

For an obvious reason, drones would fly on charge and trucks on fuel and the charge is cheaper than fuel.

4. You can get 50 drones in a cost of one truck

A sober drone would cost you $100. Even if you want to go for a rental drone, you are gonna save a lot of money. It’s like you are just paying for the fuel and saving the cost of the truck. While, if you are buying a drone, it’s vice-versa..


Can drones take the position of logistics companies?

No, nothing of the sort would occur. Drones are designed to bridge the gap between the ground and the sky. Drones can map the streets, gather data, evaluate it, and improve surveillance just by recording. It is capable of dimensioning items that cannot be mapped from the ground. Drones are subject to regulations. Once they’ve gotten to the top of the mountain, they’ll be able to see

Drones are useful, but are they truly useful?

You can’t appreciate the technology’s deep usage until it’s fully flashed. Take the mobile phone as an example. Previously, mobile phones were only used for calling; however, they are now used practically everywhere.
The fundamental goal of the drone firms right now is to hand them over. Every logistics company employs them in their own unique method. Later, everyone would understand the importance of data and its analysis in the cloud.

Regulations governing the use of drones

While most countries, including India, prohibit drone delivery, in the United States, you must obtain FAA approval to fly your devices in the skies. 

Thousands of such drones have been approved by the FAA. Drones weighing less than 2 kilograms and flying within visual range (less than 400 meters) would be approved swiftly and would require the fewest certifications for commercial use.

Business Transformation

Drones may be used to check rooftops, which is more safer. In the logistics industry, such as movers and packers, drones can be used for surveillance, picking and dropping, and optical scanning of goods.

If a retailer promises each customer a different delivery time based on the customer’s location, that would be perfect customization, For example, a retailer could give any customer who is 1 mile away a delivery-time guarantee of five minutes and a customer 1.5 miles away a delivery-time guarantee of seven minutes. While perfect customization is theoretically best for the retailer, it is impractical. Instead, the retailer might offer all customers less than 5 miles away a guaranteed delivery time of 15 minutes.

Are Drones the Unavoidable Future of Retail Package deliveries?

According to the report, as technology advances, both the number of last-mile warehouses and the delivery speed of drones will increase. In other words, last-mile delivery networks will become more decentralized as drones operate at ever-increasing rates.


While perfect customisation of delivery-time promises is more profitable, the analysis also revealed that merchants can capture a sizable percentage of the profit by segmenting their market into a few zones and delivering the best-possible delivery-time guarantee for each zone.


When it comes to how soon we may expect to see a backyard full of flying drones, researchers and drone pilots are on opposite sides of the spectrum.


“I work in the drone sector, and I enjoy seeing how technology advances and new uses emerge. “We’ll have to be patient with this particular application,” Drones Plus Dallas owner Don Garland said.

Garland is discussing the use of drones to deliver retail products to consumers’ doorsteps. While the technology is now available, with a few major corporations running test programs, Garland believes society is not ready to adjust to drone delivery( Source)

“Are people truly ready for lanes, say, for drones? And if it happens to be over your neighbourhood or your house, will you feel safe allowing your children to play out front? Will you be more anxious or nervous? Will they make a racket? Will you be able to hear them even at 400 feet?” Garland inquired. “I believe a lot of people will express discomfort about having drones so close, so many drones so close to their communities and homes.”

However, many drone pilots believes that traditional methods of package transportation can always be improved.

“Drones can go over congested places, and they can move from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ along a straight path.” Drones can also reach rural places that automobiles and trucks may find challenging to reach. So , drone pilots think the average buyer appreciates these kinds of positive things, “As with every technology innovation, some traditional occupations may be destroyed( Source)

Drone Delivery advantage for Economy- More jobs will be created as a result of this. Drone maintenance, drone monitoring employees, packers, and so on and so forth.”

Why are delivery drones cost-effective to companies?

Machines were invented to reduce the cost, save the resources and put the manpower in the management than in the labour. Well, The same thing goes in the drones part too. 

Drone V/S Tradition in different fields

  1. Drones are Automated (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) (Delivery Case)

Drones are automated and work on automated software which is aimed to save the resources. This includes the route optimization, power optimization, fuel-optimization (battery in this case) and everything else which can save the resources of the corporation.

Meanwhile, humans are hard to manage than machines( eh!) Moreover, it might not be possible to optimize the path of the other means of transportation and save fuel too.

2. Drones are Faster (Delivery)

It is no objection that the drones are faster than the traditional methods. It might take 1 day to deliver the goods meanwhile a drone can do it in 1 hour. Fast delivery ensures customer retention.

Traffic congestion, bad road conditions, accidents are some of the gs which makes drones a way too cost-efficient.

3. Drones can do Surveillance better (Security)

Humans cannot rotate their necks 360 degrees and cannot fly at the heights to patrol an area. Meanwhile, drones over mere a battery can do this all day along. Also, it can chase, take pictures and are more efficient than human beings.

4. Cost-efficient in Terms of Man-Power (Man-Power, Labor) (Counting Objects)

Suppose that you want to count the inventory, a drone with an optical scanner can do it a lot better way, in lesser time and with no errors.

And the person, who used to handle this work, can now manage 100 drones than Hundred workers, with no hassle, since the drones are automated.

There are still, lots of ways you may use the drones to increase the efficiency of your business.


Why are drone deliveries not a thing yet?

Drone delivers are largely still at Infant stage that will take more time to to  happen commercially except under some carefully controlled conditions.

    1. Battery powered drones have very limited range. If you add more batteries to increase the range you reduce the payload. You just cannot make a drone with decent range that has a decent payload if you want to use battery power.
    2. Drones are Noisy:Have you ever stood next to a large drone (say over 1 metres across). It is VERY intimidating. They are noisy and a bit frightening if you are not used to them.
    3. Current obstacle avoidance technology is not up to the mark, a bit like the immature technology on supposed self driving cars. So a delivery drone has to negotiate small children, dogs trees, wind, etc. 
    4. How does a drone know when it has delivered to the right person? How does a drone handle a wrong delivery. How does a drone handle a bad address in the GPS data base? People can do all these things easily.

And there are a few more problems, but these are the main ones.

Are there any Drones already doing the delivery work?

1.Drones by Zipline  are indeed delivering medical things by fixed-wing drone in rural Africa and in with waivers from FAA Part 107 in several US cities between kiosks with landing pads at hospitals, labs, and suppliers.

2.UPS is operating at several locations with waivers from FAA Part 135. 

3.Google/Wing got approval to deliver to residential addresses in Christiansburg, VA in the year 2020. However it  hasn’t done much until the Carona virus shutdown, and has made lots of deliveries without any problems in the past few weeks.

4.Amazon was one of the first with patent documents and if you google Prime Air you’ll see examples of their drones. But, I haven’t seen where they’re actually operating.

Drone deliveries in the US have been approved for one outfit at a time in an area while we’re waiting for ‘Remote Id’ tech and regulations to be settled.


It’s being  debated now and we expect it’s going to be several months or more before new rules for drone traffic management are promulgated.

Then, we must say we’ll see a proliferation of autonomous drones delivering things, mapping and inspecting, and aiding first-responders. Meanwhile, there are few  drones delivering stuff, just not a lot of them so far.


Final Thoughts

However, before drone technology can be widely adopted, privacy and safety concerns must be addressed, as well as regulations governing drone travel and public perception of fleets of drones flying overhead. The paper mentions pilot programs that are putting the technology to the test.

It is reasonable to assume that drone technology is rapidly maturing, and that we will see a commercial rollout on a larger scale in the not-too-distant future. The COVID-19 pandemic may hasten this process.

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