Package delivery of the future: the use of drones and autonomous robots: a realistic approach or science fiction?

29. February 2024

Switching from combustion engines to electric drives for package deliveries may offer environmental benefits, but it doesn't address the issue of congested roads caused by delivery vehicles. Beyond CO2 emissions, delivery traffic strains municipalities, prompting cities like Munich and Barcelona to implement laws, fees, and restrictions aimed at reducing vehicle numbers.
Exploring the feasibility of drones or autonomous robots for package delivery raises several considerations. Here are some…
Existing infrastructure is a problem
Existing infrastructure presents a significant hurdle for these technologies. Many paths and roads aren't conducive to autonomous robots, and there's a scarcity of landing sites for drones. Moreover, questions linger about the readiness of autonomous systems to operate independently, especially in adverse weather or with large, heavy, or bulky packages. Legal frameworks, particularly for overhead transportation in urban areas, are also underdeveloped.
Not suitable for the massive number of packages
While the idea of drones dominating urban package delivery seems improbable given Europe's vast shipment volume of 21 billion packages annually, targeted use in specialized applications like premium deliveries appears more viable.
In intralogistics, drones could streamline regular services, such as linking laboratories with hospitals, offering an efficient alternative to traditional courier services. Additionally, they hold promise for reaching remote locations in rural areas.