Do you want your online orders delivered by a drone or a person? | The Tylt
Do you want your online orders delivered by a drone or a person?
Drone delivery offers a host of potential benefits, not least among them saving time for companies shipping goods and customers on the receiving end. Beyond obvious improvements in efficiency, drones could also create a safer environment for everyone, both by conserving energy and reducing shipping traffic on roads. According to Forbes' Eric Mack:
A new study...finds that using relatively small quad- or octo-copters (in comparison to far larger drones used for military applications, for example) instead of diesel-burning delivery trucks could mean a reduction in both energy consumption and release of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Amazon is putting these theories to the test through its Amazon Prime Air program:
When Jeff Bezos first introduced the concept of Amazon Prime Air in 2013, he said he could imagine a world where drone delivery is the norm merely four or five years down the line. Now, six years later, drone delivery is still a far-fetched dream.
Not only are drones expensive to obtain and maintain, but they could also put huge numbers of people out of work. Vittana adds:
Workers would need new training programs just to keep their jobs. There would also be fewer entry-level positions where no experience is necessary, which places a higher level of pressure on the educational programs that can equip people for work.
Of course, drones cannot fully replace the ground shipping industry, given that most cannot hold orders heavier than 5 pounds. The switch to drones would likely create new jobs as well, but they would require specialized skills and expertise. The impact drone delivery would have on the economy cannot be glossed over.
Drones could also save money for companies on shipping costs, which would then lower shipping prices for customers as well. According to Business Insider's Andrew Meola:
A 2015 study by ARK Investing Group estimated that drone delivery would cost Amazon less than $1 per shipment. BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, estimates that Amazon spent approximately $5.75 on shipping per package in 2016.
If this prediction becomes the reality, drone delivery could benefit both customers and companies.
But a switch to drone delivery would also mean more privacy concerns for everyone, both those opting in and out of delivery by drone. In 2017, Forbes' Matthew Stern reported:
Amazon has patented technology that allows a drone to scan and collect data from houses it passes on its flight path, according to Inc. Among the hypothetical uses for the technology are notifying customers about a damaged roof on their home or recommending a service to attend to sick-looking trees in a yard.
Many customers find this kind of move concerning, especially when considering past invasions of privacy and data-collection by Amazon, Facebook and the like. Stern points out that although drones are generally accepted by the public, perhaps they should be more wary. For example:
If a truck drove by collecting information about individual homes and contacting the inhabitants, for instance, that might set off some red flags.