The drones, a mixture of airplane and unmanned helicopter, started in the military and defence sector -with surveillance functions- and later extended to civilian uses: entertainment, photography, fire extinction… now, little by little, the turn has come to logistics.
The drones are capable of making an inventory in a logistics warehouse, transporting goods by air or carrying out security tasks. In the United States, some companies have already begun testing for use in the distribution of products to the end customer. Many companies, including Stock Logistic, already value the real options of using this type of technology for their warehousing services.
The majority of experts assure that the use of drones in the logistics sector is very advantageous, although, to date, there are also many barriers for it to become popular.
Advantages of using drones
Some of the advantages of using this technology are:
- Savings in distribution costs.
- Faster deliveries.
- Possibility of reaching areas that are difficult to access.
- They reduce urban traffic and CO2 emissions.
- Helps to control inventories and movements within the warehouse itself.
- No shifts are needed: drones can operate 24 hours 365 days a year.
High cost technology
However, experts also speak clearly of the limitations on the use of drones today. Those limits would be related to the fact that it is a high cost technology – it requires a lot of research and development – there is underdeveloped legislation – it produces loopholes – the carrying capacity is limited – we cannot include large volumes – and the air traffic routes are not yet defined or adapted for drones.
Drones for shipments
One of the mentioned advantages of this method is the cost saving. In fact, it is lower when compared to a lorry because it is easier to deliver. On the other hand, as airspace is less congested, deliveries can be faster. In addition, drones make it possible to reach areas that cannot be reached by other modes of transport. In this way it is possible to extend the radius of action of the companies that carry out the shipments. To date, a number of delivery tests have been carried out on medical supplies, for example in remote areas of Rwanda, and the programme was subsequently extended to Ghana.