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Drone Technology and Its Role in Logistics
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Drone Technology and Its Role in Logistics
Today, the world is experiencing different forms of technological advancements and drone technology is one of them. The approach of drone technology is significantly applied in different sectors to provide necessary ease to human beings. It is interesting to explore the influence of drone technology as it impacts the lives of humans in various arrangements. Proper understanding of the overall approach of drone technology is crucial to make better inferences about the influence of this particular technological domain. Proper understanding of operations of drone technology eventually assists to understand its utilization in different fields. Drone technology is constantly evolving through the application of different advanced features. The broader idea of innovation and heavy investment in the field of drone technology eventually enhanced its effectiveness in the case of different spheres of life. Drone technology is the popular name of the concept of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It is developed as the aircraft without a human. The overall approach of drone technology comprised of advanced forms of computing technology that ensure effective forms of overall control of the vehicle.
Drone technology is established as the new face of the domain of transportation. It is important to assess how the application of new drone technology in the field becomes the reason for evolution. The involvement of drone technology in the entire scenario of logistics can never be ignored as it establishes a great difference. Existence of flying robots in the form of drone dramatically change the interpretation of the field of logistics (Kunze, 2016). The impact of drone technology in the field of logistics can observed in many different forms. It is significant to assess how the paradigm of drone technology influences operations logistics. Here, the main focus is to critically analyze the perspective of drone technology and examine its role in case of logistics.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are characterized as a new trend in the field of logistics. Different stakeholders associated with the field of supply chain management are greatly interested to use drone technology to meet desired targets for business growth. Various logistic companies are actively focused to utilize drone technology in their services to increase the overall productivity of the business. It is rightly said that currently, major transport companies compete in the market considering the active consideration of drone technology. The approach of drone technology is under consideration to effectively expand different modes of logistics. Transport drones are a new trend in the field of logistics that change the traditional position of the industry. Delivery drones are logistical devices that can carry materials from one place to another. The basic purpose of the drone is to deliver products towards an expected target. Mechanical assistance has been provided with the help of a drone to carry heavy objects for the client. In the modern world, retail outlets and logistics companies are using delivery drones to make increase their progress and to achieve profit margin (Galindo, 2016). It is notable to mention that many logistics companies and retail outlets are often dependent upon commodity transfer, so they prefer to use delivery drones to make this process easy and fast. In order to keep a continuous logistic operation, there is an immense need to use a set of delivery drones.
The delivery drones are responsible to deliver various services to the intended consumer. In the beginning, delivery drones were facing major challenges regarding the size. With the passage of time, these delivery drones are modified to challenge the size of cargo planes. The size of the delivery drones’ rages from the size of a human’s palm to the size of cargo planes. It is noteworthy to mention that delivery drones can carry different varieties of objects regardless of their size or type. These drones are beneficial for retail outlets and logistics companies to maintain market productivity.
Advantages of Delivery Drones
Delivery drones are one of the major sources of the logistics department in the entire world due to their countless advantages over other means of transports. Delivery drones are mainly used to deliver objects of various sizes from one location to another. The delivery drones are programmed devices which are being controlled by specified personnel (Polova & Magas, 2016). These devices deliver products from their headquarters to a selected area in the lowest possible time. Various types of drones are being made by developers for various purposes. However, it is notable to mention that copter drones are the most visible delivery drones that are being used by the logistics companies and retail outlets. In order to transfer bulk materials, large delivery drones are operated by logistics companies. Regardless of aerial delivery, drones proved their efficiency in time management as well. Delivery drones made it easy for logistic companies to focus on other important delivery procedures instead of time management. Accurate location program made it easier for companies to deliver products in a short span of time (Miščević, 2018). It is essential to mention that delivery drones are programmed with advanced technology to locate the exact location. Experiments and observations prove the efficiency of drones to reach the exact location with a lesser error margin.
Now, logistics companies can effectively cope with time management due to the fast delivery speed of drones. It is noteworthy to mention that delivery drones are effective to conserve energy. Now, drones are delivering commodities, which help workers to conserve their effort. Drones have the ability to increases workforce activity through mechanical aid in order to achieve more tasks. In the unfavorable working conditions, these drones can operate without any complication. Therefore, it is safe to say that these devices can replace human activities in order to minimize exhaustion risk. Another important aspect of delivery drones is to save time. One should consider delivery drones as important manpower. These devices assist any institution as an additional workforce which in turns increase their delivery time. A remote-control system operates these drones to carry objects from one place to another which saves a major portion of the time. An organization can use its workforce to attend other important delivery operation as delivery drones are providing additional support to ease each process. Delivery drones work in accordance with the safety standards. These devices deliver the commodity to consumers and save any physical man force to operate it due to which an observable accident reduction can be seen in the logistics companies.
It is notable to mention that human delivery personnel are often vulnerable to certain unsafe conditions. With the assistance of delivery drones, the human is no longer exposed to these hazardous environments. These devices made it easy for retail outlets and logistics companies to operate their processes in a safe working condition. The accuracy of delivery drones is a major aspect that attracts the attention of various logistic companies and retail outlets. Increased accuracy during the delivery of products provides them with a significant edge over other means of delivery systems. Researchers have found that delivery drones have a higher accuracy rate on delivery materials as compared to any human. Regardless of all the beneficial applications of delivery drones, there are certain drawbacks of this technology as well. As the delivery drone is a new technology in the market so it is far more expensive than other means of delivery systems (Yildirim, 2016). Logistics operations are being improved with the help of delivery drones. However, the greater expensive of this device has made it difficult for various small companies to purchase and operate it. Only larger companies are using these devices in order to improve their logistics operations. Moreover, many logistics companies are facing battery defects issue of drones. It is notable to mention that delivery drones can easily drain their battery within a few minutes. Transportation of products on longer distance often drain the batteries of drones which can be problematic for both provider and consumer. If the delivering fails due to battery defects then it can generate complaints from consumers in the market. Logistics companies often face challenges in operating the delivery drones. Technical operators are required to carry out the operations of drones in an effective manner. The operators are required to read the entire manual in order to operate the delivery drones. It takes time and efforts to successfully operate these devices. Furthermore, proper maintenance of delivery drones is required to carry out the operations without any trouble. Defective drones can disrupt the delivery services and can cause significant loss to a logistics company in case of delay.
Urban first and last mile
Rapid industrialization is one of the megatrends of the near future, especially in the emerging markets. Researchers have indicated that the global urban population will increase up to 5 billion from 1.4 billion. The negative implication of this trend can be seen in the congested roads and pollution. Due to the rapid industrialization, there is an immense need to propose a solution to this issue. Logistic companies are facing certain challenging in delivering the products at a specified location due to congested roads and decreased efficiency in the flow of products and people (Delmonteil & Rancourt, 2017). It is noteworthy to mention that city planners are facing difficulties to keep up with the pace of urbanization. The infrastructure projects can only provide temporary relief for this issue (Carlsson & Song, 2017). Therefore, they emphasize on adopting delivery drone system to make effective operations. The demand for urban first and mile delivery is likely to increase due to the increment in the e-commerce volumes. It is notable to mention that delivery drones could provide major relief for inner cities where infrastructure is not allowing the easy passage for machinery. Unmanned aerial vehicles could provide great support to first and last mile logistics networks by taking traffic off the roads and into the skies. The unmanned aerial vehicles deliver parcels directly to a customer by using an accurate GPS system.
The delivery drone system can easily be tracked with the help of the GPS system. Customer will receive a notification once their parcel takes off. The delivery drone system is managed by specialized operators who carefully lower the parcel once it reaches the outdoor delivery destination. Congested roads often make it hard to deliver products in the expected time. However, drones are taking care of this problem by significantly reducing the waiting times from three to four days to as little as a few hours. The routing decision of the unmanned aerial vehicle would always be dynamic. The products and services are distributed in real time, but it depends upon a load of certain shipments. The unmanned aerial vehicles are beneficial in the congested areas in case of time-critical delivery of various services. For instance, immediate delivery of blood from the blood bank can be achieved with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles. It is important to mention that delivery drones can deliver a product at any location. After placing an order, if a person moves to a different location, then they can use the GPS data from their smartphones to meet the parcel wherever they are. Unmanned aerial vehicle has various applications in the urban first and last mile for the logistics industry, but it raises certain privacy and safety concerns in congested areas (McCoy, 2003). It is essential to consider rural areas when it comes to the delivery of various products and services. Rural areas comprised of various geographic challenges and poor infrastructure. According to the majority of researchers, delivery drone system in the rural areas improves cost, quality, and coverage of vaccine supplies. The rural delivery by unmanned aerial vehicles for the logistics industry is attractive as low volume remote locations often present a costly part of standard networks. The rural areas and remote island locations make it hard for other delivery or transport system to operate. Due to this reason, the logistics industry is focusing on delivery drones to make operations in such remote locations. In the following year, Google has announced its interest in the delivery system which can bring the parcels to a desirable place in few minutes. Google has been working on this project to ease the process of delivery at various locations. Major logistics companies are using this delivery drone system for rural deliveries in selected areas.
Security, safety, and regulatory concerns
The lack of regulation is the main barrier to the widespread adoption of the unmanned aerial vehicle. There is an immense need to establish strict airspace management along with advanced technology to minimize the collision of unmanned aerial vehicles with other objects or manned aircraft. The nuclear, security, and military facilities are vulnerable to these unmanned aerial vehicles. Effective GPS coordinates must be used to restrict the operations of the unmanned aerial vehicle over no-fly zones. Public anxieties about the safety of unmanned aerial vehicles are a crucial aspect to develop safe methods of operations and training in the licensing regime. The safety and privacy of individuals can be compromised with the operations of the delivery drone system. Therefore, training schemes need to be critically developed to ensure that unmanned aerial vehicles will be operated by specified personnel. The risk of cyber-attack is increasing due to the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles which could develop into a new risk (Zawawi et al., 2018). As the unmanned aerial vehicles are controlled by unencrypted data for a command, so they are vulnerable to manipulation, jamming, and the interception. This perspective of the delivery drone is catastrophic for both logistic industries and consumers. There is an immense need for effective risk management before integrating the delivery drone system into everyday life. Proper monitoring and surveillance of delivery drones are essential when delivering commodities. Operates need to control the delivery drones in a disciplined manner to avoid any miscalculation or unexpected incident which can be problematic for the industry.
To conclude the discussion about the role of drone technology in the field of logistics, it is critical to mention that it is one emerging concept which can never be ignored. Currently, it is evident for the logistic companies to utilize the growing trend of drone technology to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Proper utilization of the technology of drone has the potential to ensure an enhanced form of delivery service in the sector of logistics. The proper combination of an increased form of flexibility and speed make it easy for the stakeholders to achieve desired targets of profit maximization. The increasing trend of drones in the business of logistics demands to apply proper regulatory perspective to meet the actual objectives of this specific technology advancement.
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Delmonteil, F. X., & Rancourt, M. È. (2017). The role of satellite technologies in relief logistics. Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 7(1), 57-78.
Domingo Galindo, L. (2016). The Challenges of Logistics 4.0 for the Supply Chain Management and the Information Technology (Master's thesis, NTNU).
Kunze, O. (2016). Replicators, ground drones and crowd logistics a vision of urban logistics in the year 2030. Transportation Research Procedia, 19, 286-299.
McCoy, J. V. (2003). Unmanned Aerial Logistics Vehicles: A Concept Worth Pursuing? (No. ATZL-SWD-GD). ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS.
Miščević, G., Tijan, E., Žgaljić, D., & Jardas, M. (2018, January). Emerging trends in e-logistics. In Proceedings of the MIPRO.
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Zawawi, N. F. M., Wahab, S. A., Osman, S. I. W., Shaharudin, A., Latif, A., & Fazal, S. A. (2018). The Influence of Institutional Policies and Information Technology Adoption towards Sustainable Logistics Transportation. Int. J Sup. Chain. Mgt Vol, 7(5), 303.
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