Are drones beneficial in the logistics sector?

For some years now, every time we look at the sky, it is not only to see planes, but also to find drones flying over our heads.

These unmanned light vehicles are advances in modern technology that are used in our day-to-day activities in activities as diverse as pollution measurement, real estate development or border control.

But gradually drones are gaining importance in the logistics sector, and they are already being a training part of some comprehensive logistics courses.

drones and logistics
Where does the term drone come from and what are its functions?

It is known by the term UAV, which are the acronyms that in English correspond to Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle, and it has a sustained flight like that of a drone, hence it is commonly called “drone”, which is the English word for define the aforementioned insect, being remotely controlled by a person.

They began to be used in wars and armed conflicts such as the Gulf War or in Bosnia since they are very useful because they can enter dangerous combat zones without losing human lives.

Outside of military space, it is widely used in the cinema to record dangerous scenes from the air, also in the research environment or to take photographs; in road safety, widely used to support the DGT or the firefighters in extinguishing fires and of course in digital entertainment for adults and children.

Main characteristics of drones

The maximum weight that can usually be carried is 3 kg.
Its autonomy ranges from 10 to 30 minutes.
The maximum height at which they can fly is 100 meters.
Price: a basic team ranges between 60 – 200 euros, while professionals are around 1,500 euros.
They can move in a radius of about 20 km.

drones and logistics

But if there is something that has revolutionized the use of the drone, it is the logistics sector. Perhaps we never would have suspected that having a drone overhead delivering packages could become commonplace in the near future.

And it is that drones are acquiring more importance in the supply chain day by day, which is why companies demand more and more qualified personnel and who have completed a master’s degree in logistics and supply chain.

What are the pros and cons of drones in the logistics sector?

Like almost all inventions, drones have their good part and their less good part; Among the positive things to highlight are:

1-. Lower transportation cost: since with the use of drones it is easier and faster to make certain daily deliveries.

2-. Less airspace congestion: faster delivery, making it easier to handle a larger number of orders.

3-. Access to a larger population: thanks to the drone, it is possible to reach areas that are difficult to access or rural areas that cannot be reached in any other way, so the radius of action is greater and products can be provided to a much larger population.

4-. Reduction of CO2 emissions: road transport is reduced and with it the pollution that it produces, so it is good for the environment at the same time that speeds up transport on the highways.

Challenges of drones in logistics

As we have seen, there are many benefits that we can find in the use of drones in the field of logistics. But there are still many barriers to overcome and challenges to face in these coming years:

1-. Create charging stations: something that we must not forget is that these devices need to be charged because they do not have much autonomy time, so creating charging stations becomes essential. Although it is true that by not needing roads they can reach remote places that do not have them, their radius of action is limited by their autonomy.

2-. Lower the risk of accidents: although we see drones flying through the skies and it seems that it does not affect traffic on the roads, what happens when one of them loses control and falls? There is a risk that it will hit us or vehicles in the area, causing serious accidents. It is necessary to continue advancing in this field and reduce these risks to a minimum.

3-. Improve the legislation on the use of drones: current Spanish legislation is not yet adapted to the use of drones in logistics. Both legislation and society still have work to do when it comes to integrating the possible use of these devices.

4-. Greater load capacity. Current drones have significant limitations when it comes to the weight they are capable of transporting. Although e-commerce merchandise is often very light, there is still a large part of shipments that could not be carried out with the most common current drones due to their limited load capacity.

Undoubtedly, drones are becoming increasingly important and pose interesting challenges and new possibilities for the logistics sector, although there is still a lot of development ahead and they have to overcome both legislative and operational barriers for which, for the moment, they still do not have a definitive answer.

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Khaterine William

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