Think same-day delivery is fast? Try same-hour delivery. How could such fast turnover be possible, you ask? How can you predict traffic or otherwise know that a person will get the delivery as scheduled? The answer is take the human element out of it and use an unmanned aerial vehicle – a drone. Would having a delivery system like this revolutionize the entire logistics industry? Undoubtedly, yes. Amazon is the big name in drone delivery at the moment, but FedEx and UPS will not be far behind, and when they acquire the necessary technology, delivery and logistics for both the commercial and private sectors will never be the same. And that, of course, is just the delivery aspect of what could become a phenomenon of drones being used in all aspects of industry and everyday life.
The concept is well on the FAA’s radar (no pun intended) and has already gotten past some hurdles to make this idea a reality. Drones are not terribly expensive, and they have a flat cost as opposed to an ongoing one, like a driver, so the delivery could not only be more convenient and quick (beyond what we can imagine right now), but also cost effective. With an infrastructure like Amazon’s, a distribution warehouse is probably not located too far away from you, and with Amazon’s “anticipatory shipping,” the product you want may not be far away either. This means that once you decide you want a product, it could be at your door, at any time of the day, in less than an hour or two. And, with Amazon PrimePantry, this could also include that last ingredient you need for your daughter’s birthday cake or that bag of rolls you forgot for Thanksgiving.
The Internet has brought about an age where all of the world’s information is at your fingertips, and drones could be a step toward having all of the world’s products at your fingertips (or many of them anyway). It’s not quite as immediate as 3D printing, but that technology is years and years away from being practical. For the time being, large logistic companies could bring anything for sale on the Internet to consumers’ doorsteps within hours or even minutes, in some cases. This could revolutionize shopping in just the same way that the Internet revolutionized information gathering.
So, delivery is one thing, but what else could these little aerial vehicles do? Well,Facebook and Google want to use them to supply free Internet to everyone. Both companies have been interested in drone companies recently and for the exact same purpose. This alone should demonstrate some of the validity of the concept and how companies that are prolific on the Internet could stand to make a fortune if everyone, and I mean everyone, could have access to free Internet.
Think of almost any industry, and drones could potentially be a game changer. Admittedly, many of the changes will come down to delivery, but military, mapping, exploration and any place too dangerous for a manned aircraft to risk going could benefit from this technology. All of these are possibilities, and drones have not even enjoyed mainstream acceptance just yet. I will say this about drones, and I have said it once before, all of these ideas that seem so far from manifesting in reality are doing just that, and many of them will be upon us soon…and that is just the beginning.