Drone-based Package Deliveries are an Inevitable Future for e-commerce Companies

Birender Singh

Birender Singh

The future is here, and the eCommerce and logistics industries are going through a revolution, thanks to unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones. Drones can boost the eCommerce industry by delivering parcels, goods packages, medicines, groceries, and various other products; and solving issues around last-mile connectivity and accuracy. Drone deliveries are cost-effective and environmentally friendly, and studies have shown that drone deliveries reduce the cost by 40% to 70% compared to vehicles.

Where do Drones fly for e-commerce?

Amazon, Dominos, and Walmart have already adopted the technology in the United States. These e-commerce leaders are pushing drone deliveries, while specialists like Wing, Amazon Prime Air, UPS Flight Forward, Flytrex, and others make these operations possible.

Apart from the USA, China and Japan are also using drones for parcels and shipment.

In some remote areas in Rwanda and Ghana drones are frequently being used for medical supplies delivery and test samples collection.

In Australia and Vanuatu drones are already being used for food, personal, and home care product deliveries.

Canada, Finland, Iceland and Switzerland are some other countries where drones are being used for food, medicines, and other retail supplies.

Future of Drone Delivery System

A study projected that the global drone package delivery market would grow from $228 million in 2022 to $5.556 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 49%.

The drone package delivery industry has been divided into different segments based on the size of packages – less than 2 kg, 2-5 kg, and over 5 kg – and based on distance – below 25 km and above. Under 2 kg and below 25 km, segments are expected to grow the fastest.

Most countries are boosting the sector by easing restrictions on beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, which allow autonomous delivery of products. Here, drones with preloaded data on location and other details navigate independently and deliver packages to their destinations, reducing the need for human intervention, thus cutting down labor costs.

For better incorporation the US, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the UK, and Finland have already taken policy decisions, which is giving push towards the drone deliveries.

India’s Take on the Drone Delivery System

In India, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said that the country will aim to become the global drone hub within 2030.

In her latest budget speech, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the program, Drone Shakti, to promote the use of unmanned aerial systems in agriculture, governance, logistics, and others.

As of now, India’s share in the global drone delivery industry is an abysmal 4.25%. With the right policies and focus, it will reach around INR 30,000 crore by 2025.

Challenges Against by Drone Delivery

  • But there are several issues that the industry faces, including legislative and regulatory norms. These include at what height the drones should fly, how long they can fly, airspace, the weight of drones, etc.
  • The initial cost for setting up the infrastructure, including the drones, launching pads, battery charging facilities, navigational systems, and software, are high.
  • People are still hesitant to accept deliveries by drones as they are concerned about their privacy and security.
  • There are chances of drones being used to deliver illegal contraband, stolen packages, and possibilities of drones damages.
  • There are also weather fluctuations that affect the efficiency of drones. A study done by Nature Scientific Reports in major cities across the world in June last year shows that in a day, the weather is favorable only for 10 hours to fly drones, taking into account heat, snow, rainfall, wind speed, and other factors.

But, with the current scale of innovations in the sector and due support from the government, it can be expected that the Indian drone economy will take flight very soon.