Saturday, 13 April 2024

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Drones in Packaging Distribution

Recently, many companies have started realizing the potential for the use of drones to deliver their products. Since drones are so new to the market, they are expensive to purchase, which means they are not easily replaceable. This new delivery method will require innovative packaging to ensure that the products they deliver, or the drones themselves, do not sustain damage.

The cost per delivery is influenced by route density, drop size, and the number of possible drop-offs on a delivery route. A greater number of deliveries in a short amount of time equals a lower cost for each delivery. Dropping off a greater number of packages per stop also equals lower cost. Unfortunately, drone performance is low in these areas.

A viable packaging option is a foam case. There are different types of foam from which this case can be made. Polyethylene foam is durable, lightweight, flexible, and tear-resistant. Cross-linked polyethylene foam resists moisture, is durable, and is insulated. However, it is rather expensive. Polyurethane foam is versatile but not durable and tears easily. Polyethylene foam is strong, resilient, closed-cell foam. It is very buoyant. Mildew, mold, rot, and bacteria do not affect it. It is also resistant to chemicals and grease, which makes it ideal for shipping.

However, finding effective packaging is not the only issue that companies are facing with drones. Battery life, weather, and unreliable location data are among a longer list of challenges that large companies are working to overcome. One of the most important issues on this list is battery life, causing companies such as FedEx and United Parcel Service to believe that drones are not yet delivery-ready. In an attempt to market this product for package delivery, manufacturers are working relentlessly to pull more and more power from smaller batteries.

This new method for shipping products has increased the demand for drones. It is believed that sales will exceed $1 billion during the next five years. Two major factors that contribute to the increase in sales are social media and the capability to control drones with smartphones.

A combination of a versatile drone and a hybrid vehicle from Amp Electric Vehicles is an innovative idea for delivering packages that is both ecologically sound and practical. The truck is equipped with an electric battery with a sixty mile range and a gas engine, which extends the range. The truck is parked in a convenient spot so that the drone can complete what is left of the journey to the products’ destinations. The drone, called the Horsefly, was developed with the help of the University of Cincinnati. This drone has eight rotors instead of the traditional four.

A brief survey of consumers, conducted by the author, indicates that they are in favor of drone deliveries. Based on polls, consumers wish to see drones able to deliver everything from dry cleaning to restaurant deliveries. While the idea of drones for package delivery is still being critiqued, people are hopeful that this is the future of package delivery.


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