They fly autonomously from door to door, land precisely - even on moving targets - and return to the starting point without outside help. All of this on time, quickly and environmentally friendly. Logistics drones do not get stuck in traffic jams, are not tied to the road network and use electricity instead of fossil fuel. But are delivery drones actually conquering the logistics industry? Are they the ultimate solution for the last mile in urban logistics?
Whether efficiency increases, inner-city driving bans or the increasing volume of shipments - vehicle manufacturers, dispatchers, courier services, urban planners and traffic researchers are working hard to find alternatives for inner-city goods transport and for route optimization in metropolitan areas. In addition to cargo bikes, e-cars and micro-depots, the focus is on logistics drones. There are numerous pilot projects in which parcel and delivery drones are tested. So what potential do "unmanned aerial vehicles" have for the logistics industry?
Pilot projects of the logistics giants
Parcel copter approaching
No highs yet for transport drones
Logistics drones have already made the leap from science fiction films into everyday life. But they are not (yet) suitable as delivery drones for mass deliveries. Due to the relatively short range of the batteries and the low payload, they cannot replace the “classic” delivery service. In urban areas, however, the greatest challenge lies in transporting as many goods as possible in the shortest possible time. The personal acceptance of a parcel via delivery drone is also a long way off. Last but not least, the logistics drone will fail because of the narrow inner city and the lack of landing areas.
The use of logistics drones is unthinkable without landing sites.
Dr. Tore Grünert
Route planning with logistics drones, Photo: Blake Wheeler