Drones in Logistics: The Present and the Future Scenario

Although drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have been in use for a long time in the defence sector, it has found some really interesting applications in the recent times. Logistics is one such sector that is set to witness some radical changes in the coming days due to the increasing use of drones, especially in areas like delivery and distribution. Once again, it is the retail giant Amazon that is pioneering the use of drones in logistics.

 Amazon has already acquired a patent for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures like waving, shouting, or a thumbs up. In response to such gestures, the drone can react and change its behavior. For example, it can release the package, change it course, cancel the delivery, or even ask questions, depending on the human gestures it receives. For Amazon, Prime Air, its future delivery system in development is a priority. The retail giant is planning to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less by utilizing drones.

 In the coming days, other players in the logistics industry are expected to adopt drone technology to remain competitive in the market. Businesses in the logistics sector can reduce their costs and delivery time with drones. The increasing demand for faster delivery is expected to drive the growth of the drone logistics and drone transportation market.

 However, delivery is not the only area where drones are going to bring about a transformation. Other than delivery, drones are going to change the look of the warehouses as well. Several global players have been testing drones to run their warehouses for a considerable period of time. Drones in warehouses can greatly reduce costs and workload from humans.

 MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has already developed a system of small drones for warehouses. These drones can scan inventory bar codes and RFID tags and thus, reduce the manual counting workload of human workers. Another retail giant, Walmart is testing drones having optical scanners in its warehouses, in order to count inventory. The drones can reportedly scan a volume of inventory in an hour that would otherwise require 50 human workers.

 The application of drones in logistics, especially in areas like warehouses and delivery, do pose some challenges. These challenges are usually related to safety, as well as conflicts with general aviation users like private, commercial, and military aircraft. However, the pace at which the technology is developing, it will undoubtedly overcome these hurdles to bring about a radical transformation in the logistics industry.

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