Drone delivery is the future of e-commerce as companies like Amazon, Google, UPS and Walmart are all working on drone delivery projects racing to be the first to be in the skies and expand their business. The USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also working very closely with each drone delivery company to facilitate this technology.
Amazon on the 1 September was granted a Part 135 air carrier certificate by the FAA, which is the first step companies have to go through before they can conduct drone delivery testing. Google and UPS have also been granted this initial approval, as the race to be the first to complete certification has begun and is now only a matter of time before commerce drones are flying across the skies.
Walmart has also announced its own Drone Delivery project not wanting to be left behind by e-commerce giant Amazon. Walmart which is a multinational company, if successful in the US will most likely expand its drone deliveries to each country it operates in.
The applications for drone deliveries are numerous, for instance, Flyzipline a San Francisco commercial drone delivery company has operated in Rwanda for some years now. It has delivered medicines supplies to rural villages and hospital becoming quite proficient at it and is now a key mechanism for Rwanda’s public health sectors in the process.
Uber, has also thrown its hat in the race with UberEats and Uber air drones expect to enter the food delivery market in the coming years. Uber has outlined its goal for drone delivery to not only be able to land drones at residential homes but on top of cars.
These recent developments in technology cannot be understated, as the economic and environmental consequences of delivery drones flying above is a huge shift from the norm. The tech companies that are also trying to bring about this technology also operate globally, meaning their impact could have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world.
The competitive advantage that will come from drone delivery can also not be underestimated, because once these drones start flying it will be very difficult for the small delivery companies to compete for market share. The cost of creating a drone delivery program and maintaining it also creates new barriers of entry for new companies which could create new monopolies in the delivery industry.
Drone delivery though good for business and e-commerce, has the potential to impede human rights like privacy and safety. It may also become a new form of visual pollution with thousands of drones above impacting the mental health of people. The race for drone delivery is underway nonetheless, with multiple companies in China, India and the UK also trialing their own drone projects, as something that one’s seem like science fiction becomes a reality.