With so much bad news about the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the good news is that it has caused a significant increase in the number of drone deliveries that have been tested and implemented in our own country, as well as in the UK, and many other countries abroad.
According to Goldman Sachs, the global drone market could hit $70 billion in the U.S. and £80 billion in the UK if it continues to make serious inroads in such industries as take-out food delivery, border patrol, and infrastructure surveillance. Although there has been an increase in the infrastructure sector, that sector is so immense, that using drones has barely scratched the surface.
In particular, during the outbreak of COVID-19, drones have been used for the delivering of food and medical supplies to vulnerable persons in remote locations. The technology is also being utilized by the healthcare industry to transport test samples of medical supplies between facilities.
It was not long ago that drone deliveries were a mere figmentation of the mind, pure science fiction. In recent months, they have taken hold in so many parts of the world, even helping to transport critical equipment, like PPE and medication.
Drone deliveries, for both medical and commercial purposes, are increasing in Ireland, Canada, and the rest of the world, and in greater frequency in recent months, before, and since, the coronavirus pandemic first appeared.
Bala Ganesh, vice president of the advanced technology group at UPS, stated the following:
“What we are doing is we are opening up a third dimension that wasn’t there. We were thinking in 2D and now we’re starting to think in the third dimension. And no pun intended, the sky’s the limit in what we can built out going forward with this third dimension.”
UPS Flight Forward now has federal approval to expand its drone delivery operations.
Walgreens is testing on-demand delivery by drone on a limited scale in Christiansburg, Va., partnering with FedEx and Wing Aviation, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Many in the online retail industry are working hard to develop drone delivery systems that can win federal approval. Most prominent among them is Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, who said a few years ago that drones would be delivering Amazon orders to our homes in 30 minutes via drone by 2019, although that has not happened yet, it is only a matter of time as the regulatory framework opens up more.
Drones are already being used commercially for photography and film, agriculture, environment, wildlife, law enforcement, construction, buildings, bridges and railroads, and telecommunications. And first responders use them in search and rescue operations, and to survey damage from fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters. In fact, the list is exhaustive!
The new FAA “part 135” certification awarded to UPS will eventually allow for drone deliveries going beyond the operator’s line-of-sight, which means flying the drones at night and over populated areas.
The demand that consumers have for goods, and wanting them faster, is insatiable, and it won’t be long before we think back to those days when we had to wait a whole day for our products.
Drones with longer ranges will eventually be a game-changer in helping delivery service, among many other services. Such drones will be able to meet health care needs in difficult communities and in rural areas, where doctors and patients may be many miles apart from medications and supplies.
Drone deliveries are no longer a thing of the future since the coronavirus boom. Rather, it is a thing that keeps gaining speed, respect, and even affection.
It is ironic that drone deliveries have expanded under government restrictions.