09 Jun DRONES – not just for the digital consumer
The talk of the town – new technology is coming through and it’s got everyone excited.
Before the 1990’s, the biggest problem in the supply chain industry was the void in communication and the limitations that came with tracking goods along the line. Since then, the industry has advanced dramatically, filling gaps to improve information management and databases. So what’s next? The void has been filled and we can only advance even further.
The future is awaiting the drone revolution. According to Andreas Raptopoulos, the CEO of Matternet, “We believe that drones could do for transportation what mobiles did for communications”. Global game players are taking a serious interest into the innovation, with investors spilling their pockets for drone start-ups. Take Amazon for example, its ecommerce logistics approach introduced Amazon Prime Air, a delivery system created to send packages to customers in less than half an hour.
Particularly in the food industry, it’s no surprise they have jumped on trialing the trend. In the US, boxes of LaMar’s Donuts were flown to local police and fire departments. In China, e-retailer Taobao and partner YTO express ran trials to deliver tea in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In Singapore, Foodpanda, a food delivery app tested drone delivery to create a competitive edge over incoming players.
Other than food and retail based deliveries, we put the digital consumer aside and look into different sectors that have the potential for strong economical impact. So, what other sectors do drones have a positive affect on? The military and medical sectors for instance, are eager to push boundaries to improve economic growth and provide safer procedures for transportation. In the military, unmanned transportation has already been trialed by Lockheed Martin and aerospace company Kaman Corp. Between 2011-2014 unmanned helicopters were flown over 1,900 missions, including marine transportation. In turn, eliminated risking the lives of crews that would potentially have to embark on dangerous missions.
Meanwhile, drones have the potential to reach rural areas in developing nations that are difficult to reach by road. For example, privately held companies such as Zipline, have formed partnership with the Government of Rwanda to deliver medical products ranging from vaccines to blood, and are hopeful for HIV test samples. Reaching out to send vital supplies to the billions of people that do not have reliable road infrastructure and live in difficult terrain, has been a growing interest for innovative companies to use their resources for the greater good. Matternet, an aero logistics technology based company, combines medical and e-commerce opportunities to comprise a network of drones to send to small communities in need of aid. The most recent achievement Matternet managed to approve drone flight of blood samples over Swizzerland cities in early 2017.
Such projects are also adapted in developed nations, however the regulations and federal approvals are complex – although in time, awaiting approvals are promising. So much attention and resources have already been implemented to support drones across multiple industry sectors. It is foreseen, that the continuity of drone development within the transport industry and provide efficiency to not only the digital consumer, but those who are in need of vital supplies to their developing communities. The support and attention to create drones as a transportation method to improve economic growth is needed to continue the motion into changing lives.
The future is happening, but we have yet to see who will take the biggest step into the market. And who will follow? Time will tell.