To the layman, drones seem like something out of a movie – hovering over populated areas and dropping pizzas or even puppies out of the sky! But over the past few years, drones have become less of a fantasy and more of a reality. Today, drones already contribute positively to wildlife conservation, emergency rescue, and military operation efforts. Consumers can even buy small commercial drones to fly around for fun.
And as drone functionality becomes more advanced, it can be applied to a greater number of industries, including Posts. In fact, drones are a prime candidate for solving a complex, expensive, inefficient problem: last-mile delivery. In this piece, we examine how drones are starting to surface in the postal industry as potentially viable option, the benefits they bring to postal operations, and the pieces of the drone puzzle that have yet to be solved.
Drones have been on Posts’ radar for a while now and for good reason – they are able to deliver where no person can. The USPS is using drones for delivery routes around water, hilly terrain, or unpaved streets. Similarly, La Poste has been using drones to make deliveries to remote Alpine villages. Not only are these towns tough to get to, they are also especially treacherous in the winter. Driving on icy, snowy roads puts postal workers in danger, and makes it less likely deliveries will make it to their destination on time.
The Swiss Post is no stranger to drones either, testing drones for delivery since 2015. Since then, they’ve transported mail, parcels, emergency relief supplies, and even high-priority lab samples. And these countries aren’t the only ones interested in drones—Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, and Rwanda have all been experimenting for the past few years.
Besides accessing remote places safely, there are several other prospective benefits to using drones for Posts such as:
Just like any new technology, drones have their limitations. Below, we explore a few of those constraints and what it might take to overcome them.
It’s no surprise that Posts are investigating the feasibility of drones for parcel delivery, but it’s important to keep in mind that there are many unknowns. In the meantime, pick-up-drop-off solutions (PUDO), remain the best, most secure method of delivery. With PUDO, third-party retailers can offer your Post’s goods and services, increasing Posts’ sales and reach in a very cost-effective way. Customers can pick up and drop off parcels at their leisure, reducing the need for extra deliveries and giving the consumer more flexibility. Learn more about how to implement PUDO solutions here.