What's the Future of Drone Technology in Logistics and Supply Chain?

A lot of investment in research and development of drones for logistics has been done by global brands. Companies like Google, Amazon, DHL, and Walmart are diligently experimenting with autonomous systems and robotics. On the other hand, 3PL firms are using drones to obey their Service Level Agreements they have in place with their clients. In the past years, significant advancements of drone hardware have been noticed, paving the way for an intelligent automation software that makes drones cost-effective for logistics and supply chain uses.

In the end, it's obvious that in the future drones will transform the supply chain process seriously, given the strong interest and investments in the technology. Drone-based deliveries, however, can only be scaled if logistics firms can work effectively with the government, regulators, and customers to overcome barriers.

Advantages of using drones in logistics

  • Workforce requirements and equipment can be reduced.
  • In the cases of shortage or high weakening, it can act as a substitute for basic tasks of employees.
  • Operational and shipping cost for drone-based last-mile deliveries is reduced.
  • Multi-party collaboration and their clients since drone solutions are easily scalable and highly customisable.
  • Unification with the warehouse management system is ideal with most drone solutions..

Ways drones can be used for logistics, operations, and distribution

They can be exploited for transportation or delivery of orders to customers. This is especially true for last-mile deliveries in urban areas with heavy traffic congestion. As of April 2020, the FAA in the U.S. has yet to authorize any large scale operations. Deliveries of medicines and relief packs to remote and rural areas are already being tested. Remotely-operated drones can be used in inspecting infrastructure after a disaster for risk evaluation purposes.

  • Security surveillance of large areas for logistics such as warehouses and factories
  • Maintenance assessment of infrastructure integrity of yards, terminals, and warehouse roofs
  • Scanning of pallets inside distribution centers, allowing the operations team to view inventory stored on the premises as well as searching for misplaced goods in difficult-to-reach spaces
  • Collection of video and images during inventory audits