As we have mentioned countless times here in David Kiger’s Blog, technology today is advancing at a pace that makes it difficult sometimes to keep up with. Businesses are having trouble adapting to the newest demands of the market simply because they seem to change too much and by the time a new technology has been adopted it seems like something else is right around the corner planning on making the new processes obsolete.
The world of logistics is highly sensitive to these changes; and drones, automated machines and closer connections made possible by the type of data being shared, are redefining the possibilities that businesses can offer clients today.
Drones are number one on the list of new technological advances that are reshaping the world of logistics to heights that were just part of our imaginations a few years back. The use of robotics for parcel deliveries is a strategy that can brings costs down significantly and therefore allow companies to be more profitable, safer and at the same time the can pass down savings to customers so they can be more competitive.
One of the best advantages of drones is their ability to not only arrive at their destination quickly but also being able to reach places that conventional delivery means cannot cover. Drones work a lot better in rural areas than inside busy cities where they can find many physical obstacles and obstructions as well as having to deal with sanctions and many regulatory provisions that are making it quite difficult for companies to have the proper licenses to provide the service.
The open country and areas where city traffic is less heavy are perfect for drone delivery and will probably be the ones that can enjoy their benefits best. It is important to notice that reaching those areas is also more costly when it comes to having regular delivery services take on the responsibility, so the benefits of having drones take care of rural deliveries make sense in more ways than one.
The thing about drones that most people don’t understand is that they cannot be looked at as simple a new delivery method and that’s it. It is a mistake to see them as simply a new vehicle on the fleet that is able to deliver things faster and that flies. The entire system of transportation and the supply chain must be modified in order to accommodate drones into their environment. Processes that are outdated will only work as a monkey wrench being thrown into the cogs of efficient logistics. These essential processes must become automated, and the integration between systems must be tighter than ever before.
Drones and robotics, in general, require more than batteries and instructions to operate, they also generate large amounts of data and the advancement of the supply chain could come to a screeching halt if the flood of this real-time data could not be processed by servers properly.
An interesting outtake on this is the fact that recently MIT revealed information that showed that perhaps using delivery drones is not the best way to make use of resources since current infrastructure dictates that vehicles that can use roads are simply more energy efficient that aerial vehicles remotely manned. It is also worth noting that drones have a very limited load capacity and general range for deliveries, something that is not always practical and makes their utilization only make sense in very specific cases. Another advantage these autonomous vehicles have over drones is that they are not regulated by entities like the Federal Aviation Administration, which currently requires companies very strict guidelines to fly their drones like maintaining a clear line of sight with their drones and also makes them avoid the busiest of areas in highly populated city locations. Robots and self-driving vehicles are looking more and more like the next step right now because the technology keeps becoming more refined and evolved by the day.
A very interesting alternative being explored by FedEx even talks about joining both of these technologies together and using some automated delivery trucks as launch platforms for drones. While it may sound unrealistic at first, the thought of both of these technologies working together not only makes perfect sense but it should be regarded as the next logical step in allowing these advances to take up a more active role in the supply chain and elevating logistics to new levels of efficiency and innovation.
Imagine vehicles driving without operators to predetermined locations to make deliveries and then deploying drones that could take care of the last leg of the trip or also a flight to other predesigned hops where they can exchange packages or receive further instructions about their specific deliveries. This type of orchestrated operation is what awaits in the future of logistics, and as we can see, it is more about communication and learning to maximize what we have than creating new technologies for the sake of it.
* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com