Is Drone Delivery a Good Idea? What it Actually Means for You
MissionGO – July 28, 2022
Drone delivery is no longer something that is on the horizon. It is happening here today. Is drone delivery a good idea and what does it actually mean for you?
Are drones being used for deliveries?
First it was 2-day delivery, overnight, then 2-hour, and now you can get your small products delivered within 30 minutes[i]. Walmart, Amazon, and many others are all testing the next phase of logistics using uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) – casually known as “drones”. Internationally, drones have already taken off – forgive the pun – with Drone Delivery Canada, Ireland-based Manna, EU-friendly DRONAMICS, and many more. In the United States, however, the industry is waiting on regulation from the Federal Aviation Administration to determine how we can safely operate a delivery program via drone in U.S. airspace. Some companies have received waivers and certifications to operate in a very specific capacity, but drone delivery in the U.S. is not yet a reality. Regardless though, there are many forms of uncrewed aircraft – fixed-wing gliders to multi-rotor drones – taking to the skies to deliver your packages.
How much does drone delivery cost?
Drones are advertised as a faster, more cost-effective delivery method, but what is the real cost? Like all deliveries, it depends on the demand and distance. However, there are several costs to consider aside from the dollar amount. Each drone has the possibility to reduce the number of stops that a traditional delivery truck makes on its route, alleviating the carbon footprint of every stop. Each drone has the possibility to reduce the number of cars on the road, removing the obstacle of traffic in time-sensitive deliveries. Each drone also has the possibility to provide a safer journey for its cargo; meaning your food, prescriptions, smoothies, medical supplies, crystal stemware, etc. all arrive with much less damage and shifting.
Dollar amount alone is not a full picture of the cost of drones. Even though drones could help minimize last mile delivery costs – currently accounting for 53% of the total cost of shipping[ii] – environmental, time, and safety factors are all critical to consider when discussing the case for drone deliveries.
What can be transported via drone delivery?
The kind of cargo that can be transported via drone depends on the capabilities of the unique aircraft. A large drone can carry a heavier payload, while a smaller drone is limited to lightweight packages. MissionGO’s MGV100 can carry approximately 15 lbs or 6.8kg; this can be anything from pizza deliveries to medical transportation of human organs. Most recently, MissionGO completed an operation in Michigan with 10 days of continuous deliveries simulating blood transport from hospital to medical center[iii]. We also recently were in Arizona demonstrating the delivery of food, survival supplies, and medicine to rural areas in the Navajo Nation[iv].
Need new headphones ASAP? Forget a spice for your dinner recipe? Drones can deliver within minutes. Need a life-saving blood transfusion? Drones can deliver within minutes. There are endless opportunities for what drones can deliver!
What Does a Drone Delivery Look Like?
What drone delivery looks like all depends on the kind of drone. Some require a helipad, others a runway, but most are either able to land anywhere or are fitted with a winch system negating the need for landing. MissionGO’s MGV100 could be used in either setting. With a fixed box, the drone could descend to land on a level surface in your yard, like a driveway or patio. It would then release the box, take off again and fly away. In the case of a winch, the aircraft would hover over the drop location and lower the box to the ground before releasing it, retracing the cable and flying away. The key thing in both of these scenarios is that there is no interaction with the drone. Just like a sneaky delivery driver, you might not realize your package has arrived until you receive the notification on your phone!
Will drones replace traditional human delivery?
In no current or near-term version of the transportation and logistics industry will drones have the capacity to replace human delivery entirely. The world is built on being able to move things from point A to point B requiring millions of minds and bodies to make that happen. Drones can help make an impact by lessening the stress of last-mile deliveries or take over difficult terrain routes. But that being said, drones also need pilots, navigators, and engineers to function! So rest assured – drones are here for good.
In short, drone delivery has innumerable benefits – it is faster, more efficient, more environmentally-friendly, and safer than traditional forms of last mile delivery. MissionGO is dedicated to advancing the uncrewed industry and have already started to showcase the possibilities of delivery via UAS. As always, we prioritize safety and reliability in our teams, our work and our products. Learn more about MissionGO’s cargo missions here and check out our video library showcasing recent operations here.
Are drones being used for deliveries? Yes! It is happening today.
How much does drone delivery cost? Varied – review all factors when considering cost.
What can be transported via drone delivery? Almost any small to medium size cargo.
What does a drone delivery look like? Depends on the drone, but regardless there is no contact with the aircraft.
Will drones replace traditional human delivery? Nope – but it can help supplement.
Learn more about MissionGO’s cargo operations here.
[i] https://corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2022/05/24/were-bringing-the-convenience-of-drone-delivery-to-4-million-u-s-households-in-partnership-with-droneup and https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/transportation/amazon-prime-air-prepares-for-drone-deliveries.