Are drones and driverless vans th ...

drone delivery

Logistics companies have been using drivers since the invention of the car, but the introduction of driverless cars and delivery drones could mean the beginning of a new era. These demonstrate the growing options presented to customers and how technology can serve the logistics industry. But how viable are they?

New advances in technology

The two most notable advances in delivery technology in recent years are the delivery drone, and the driverless car. These both pose great opportunities for logistics companies and the technology is even already being tested by large online retailers, car manufacturers and even pizza delivery chains. These drones could potentially allow large warehouses to deliver items to consumers in as little as 30 minutes instead of the typical 3-5 working days.
Unfortunately, currently drones can only carry packages of a limited size and weight, and this is where the other piece of delivery technology comes into play. Driverless cars and vans can perform deliveries as a normal driver would but in a hyper-efficient manner. These vehicles could calculate and adapt their journey in order to get to their destination in the shortest time possible and could drive for much longer than a human driven vehicle without stopping as they do not have a driver that needs to eat, sleep and take breaks. All of these factors could speed up delivery times for the customers as well as reducing costs.

How can this benefit logistics companies?

The combination of these new delivery technologies could drastically improve the supply chain and logistics delivery process whilst simultaneously reducing long term costs and the dependency on human workers – removing the possibility of human error.

This means that logistics companies everywhere can save money which, in turn, increases profits. Logistics companies are therefore likely to see a fairly quick return on investment should these technologies become advanced enough to use as an integral part of their business. Adopting these new technologies could also improve the company’s reliability and reputation. Consistently delivering products quickly (as the drones and driverless cars would allow them to do) could result in companies quickly gaining a reputation for outstanding service and, as a result, being the first choice amongst competitors.

Too good to be true?

The idea of using drones and driverless cars, amongst other technologies, has potential but unfortunately it’s not all good news. Driverless cars and automated delivery drones are currently still in testing. Although we are beginning to see and hear more about these “self-driving” cars and delivery drones, they are both still very hard to get your hands on, and in most populated areas you need special permissions to even test delivery drones. On top of this, driverless cars come with a hefty price tag and there are still a few details to establish before we will be seeing automated delivery vans dropping off packages for customers across the country.

What does this mean for drivers?

There are currently over a million delivery drivers by trade and if companies everywhere decide to adopt these new delivery techniques in place of their trusty van drivers, what will happen to those drivers in the future? At the moment it is likely that only a select few huge corporations will be employing these delivery methods in the near future and even those that do will still be using traditional delivery drivers for the most of their logistics until the technology is more available, affordable and has been tested in real world situations. So, for the near future at least, there’s no reason for any major changes to occur for drivers in the logistics sector.

Will we be seeing delivery drones and driverless cars in the near future?

You probably will, yes. But most likely only on the news or used in select areas by one or two optimistic businesses. Although these new developments could present a new range of opportunities for logistics companies, it is unlikely that we will see them being adopted in the masses in the next few years, but only time will tell.

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