Is Fixed Wing Drone Good for Delivery Services | Just a Thought

Best Drone Amidst Pandemic

Drones being used, during pandemic, to deliver medical and health care supplies and goods are the best drones so far under the circumstances. Of course, this taking into consideration the beneficial effects in combatting the scourge that is plaguing the globe.

The corona virus outbreak has been continuously affecting a number of industries around the globe. In fact, in a credit analysis conducted by Kumar and Haydon (2020), the industry most impacted by COVID-19 is the airline or aviation industry.

It is not questionable however since travel ban was implemented for months to avoid the spread of the virus. Of course, it affected the air freight which used to deliver parcels or goods. As mentioned by Accenture (2020), “Global air cargo capacity is at its lowest percentual decline since mid-March” (para. 3).

While this may be the downside of the pandemic, it however opened up lots of opportunities to businesses or industries to cope with the times. They were able to strategize and formulate new ways of catering to their customers’ needs especially now that contactless transactions are mostly advised.

Can drones be used for delivery?

Best example is the initiative of Zipline to provide the urgent need of people nowadays. Since COVID-19 test samples are very important around the globe this pandemic, this US-based start-up is now using drones to deliver the said test samples to five African countries. In Chile, they also have drones delivering medicines to those living in remote areas (Goasduff, 2020).

The aforementioned examples clearly show that COVID-19 has introduced a “new normal”. Before, businesses used to deliver or transfer goods or products not in a contactless manner. Now, they have realized that they must stick to their purpose of serving their customers without risking the life of anyone.

During this pandemic, deliveries are more frequent due to the fact that face-to-face transactions are less advised. This just means that the world needs fast and efficient delivery service to avoid backlogs on the part of the business entity.

How can drones help in facilitating shopping deliveries?

Goasduff (2020) even proposed using autonomous flying drones. Compared to a truck delivery that takes 90 minutes, drones can transfer goods in just 15 minutes. Aside from that, it is efficient for cost-cutting.

As Pacheco (para. 4) said, “When they deliver parcels, their operational costs are at least 70% lower than a van delivery service” (Goasduff, 2020). Could it be possible for a country’s online shopping sites to adopt this kind of delivery especially now?

People love any kind of shopping, online or even window. And this love has grown even ponder when the pandemic hit the world as more people opted to do transactions online. Adding the fact that the said sites even offer enticing sale every month (of course, to have a higher leverage).

What may it be like if drones are used for shopping deliveries instead?

In other parts of the globe, delivery riders even carry overloaded packages which may be dangerous to them. Companies choose to do this instead of hiring more riders. If this would be case, there would be a tendency that instead of gaining more profit, they will be losing more.

This should be a wake-up call for them to do their operations in a more convenient but less-threatening way. It is not just for the customers but also for the companies themselves and their employees. Imagine taking advantage of the latest technology that we have.

Definitely, it would be fascinating to see that all the experiments and researches are coming to life. They must not remain as displays that are not functional. People must make the most out of our technology, for example is the drone. But what is the best one to achieve this kind of objective?

In these times, obviously, barring any untoward scenario, there will be ease of transaction, may be or both the seller and the buyer.

What type of Drones is best for Delivery Service?

The fixed-wing drone is considered as the best one for commercial and military aerial applications. It has tilted wings to create a lift effect. In its generic sense and without specifying any brand or manufacturer, below are the common and brief assessments and evaluations.

What It Can Do

  • It can take-off and land without a runway, making it operative in any locations.
  • Its design provides greater endurance to cover longer distances and fly faster.
  • It does not need much battery to stay on air.
  • It can cover large farms so farmers can detect their crops’ health easily.
  • It provides real-time and accurate 3D data.
  • It can even get into remote areas. (Applications for Hybrid VTOL, n.d.)

What You May Not Like About It

  • It can be expensive.
  • Training is required to fly it.
  • It is more difficult to land than other drones.
  • They can only move forward. (Herrick, 2017)

While it is true that a fixed-wing drone is seen to be helpful in so many ways, the pandemic itself also poses some constraints to its applicability as of the moment. As mentioned, using it is less costly than van delivery service.

But adopting the use of this drone itself requires extensive research and testing for security purposes. In other words, it will incur additional costs for the businesses; which is not practical especially for those industries most impacted by COVID-19 and currently are on their downfall.

Aside from that, RFID is commonly used for accurate tracking (Goasduff, 2020). Implementing radio-frequency identification is time-consuming. It is also 10x more expensive than barcodes (“RFID vs. Barcodes”, n.d.).

Also, it has yet to be developed. There must be an effective way for them to adapt to weather changes or else, it will cause disruption in the business. Goasduff also pointed out that the most serious inhibitor is the fact that there are no air traffic control systems yet.

Constant eye for technological advancement

Nevertheless, there are still years to develop it before being massively released commercially. In the meantime, businesses who are eyeing to use full drone automation must try to use other alternatives for RFID.

If companies are really ready to incur additional budget, better invest it in a more accurate location tracker like Ultra-wideband (UWB). It even works in an “empty” environment (Herrera, 2018). Aside from that, change in weather can ultimately affect the battery of a drone.

Batteries that can adapt especially to cold weather must be used to lessen the use of battery heater just for it to function well again. To arrive at the best drone possible for delivery service, businesses may seek the help of well-versed installers of UWB technology.

Installing it cannot be done by just anyone because it must conform to certain international technical standards regarding safety rules (Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia, 2013).

If no better alternative for UAV battery will be developed before 2025, there must be at least a heater in the system itself for the drone to adapt to cold weather.

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