In the not distant future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the helm of mankind’s everyday life. Global population has grown exponentially resulting in an increased demand for food, water, housing, energy, healthcare, transportation, and more. And all that consumption has contributed to ecological degradation and a higher risk of large-scale disasters like pandemics. Surely, this gruesome situation has had an impact on logistics, especially conventional ones in particular cars. However, another invention, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or drone is proving to be quite handy for accomplishing various delivery activities though it has several shortfalls as well.
Basically, that is one of the scenarios that would bring the debate on drone versus car even in the present day. Comparatively, both technologies have a fair share of advantages and disadvantages and it is worth knowing them for one to make a well-informed decision to purchase or choose the right technology for a particular delivery.
Some of the reasons a drone is better for deliveries.
- A drone is faster
To begin with, a drone is faster than a car on average which can be attributed to various reasons particularly the overall weight where a drone is light while a car is heavier (mostly weighing over 1 ton). Further, drones are faster because they use shorter and direct routes or move in a straight line when flying thereby enabling them to cover more distance in a very short period. For this reason, drones are extremely reliable for life-saving missions for example delivering medical supplies such as blood bags or vaccines since they are light and have to be delivered timely. However, a car can encounter a number of hindrances on its way to a destination such as heavy traffic, an occurrence that is getting common presently and, in the future, it might get worse with population growth as more people will own cars.
- Drones fly autonomously while a car needs a driver.
Secondly, a drone flies autonomously while a car needs a driver and works partially autonomously. Simply put, autonomous drones utilize artificial intelligence and computer vision for self-flying and aerial actions and the primary advantage of this feature is that whether they are being flown indoors, in the sky or anywhere flyable, they are smart and capable enough to provide the purpose one needs. Contrary, a car has to be controlled by a human driver from start off to the destination. But, due to technological advancement, there are fully self-driving vehicles though in most parts of the world the technology has not been adopted because the vehicles are expensive.
- Drones are more environmentally-friendly
Climate change is one of the topics dominating news where countries are being urged to enforce environmental policies and even United Nations made it a priority and global effort by including it in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 13: Climate Action) to be achieved by 2030. Research has shown that a drone can have up to 94% lower energy consumption per package than any other vehicles which is key in fighting climate change. Besides, some drones use renewable energy which will minimize the usage of fossil fuel and carbon emissions. On the other hand, cars are one of the major contributors of air pollution with statistics showing some cars emitting approximately 112g of Carbon Dioxide per Kilometer yet a drone produces close to 3g of Carbon Dioxide per Kilometer. Nevertheless, there is a campaign to promote zero-emissions or low-carbon fuel vehicles that are eco-friendly and compliance is progressing.
- Drones can go to dangerous and hard-to-reach areas
There are cases where a package has to be delivered to areas that are almost inaccessible and are full of hazards therefore, a drone is your-go-to technology. Drones are commonly used in industries such as agriculture, Contruction, and oil and gas as well as in search and rescue operations, and surveying hazardous environments, such as natural disaster areas or areas with nuclear or chemical contamination. To add, they can be used in military and intelligence operations in hostile or dangerous areas and all these improve human safety unlike cars where a human can be exposed to all these dangers.
Some of the reasons a car is better.
- A car carries more and heavy payload
This is probably the primary advantage a car has over a drone when it comes to delivering a considerable amount and heavier packages. The fundamental reason is that a car is designed or has the capabilities to withstand the pressure of heavy goods for example weighty medical equipment that cannot otherwise be carried by a drone in addition to being spacious which makes it ideal for transporting more goods at a time. For perspective, going beyond the maximum weight specified by the drone developer may lead to various issues such as inability to fly, unstable flight, or crashing of the drone.
- A car can work in extreme weather conditions.
Arguably, chances of completing a delivery using a car in an unfavorable weather are higher than a drone though it is not advisable to drive in such conditions. Still, you can drive when it is raining heavily, it is too hot or humid just to mention a few. On the other hand, when attempting to fly a drone, certain weather conditions have to be checked thoroughly such as wind speed, rain, temperature and humidity. For instance, if it is raining, or too hot or humid, you can end up damaging the drone.
- Cars do not normally cause concern on privacy
One of the most common worries from the general public about drones is privacy. Drones can collect data and images without drawing attention leading to many people expressing their concern that their privacy may be jeopardy. On the other hand, cars are viewed to be less of a threat to safety and privacy though efforts are being made to remedy the situation with drones. For instance, some drone companies have developed privacy features that allow customers to control how their footage is used and others have implemented mechanisms that automatically delete footage within a short period of time.
- Cars have less strict rules and regulations currently.
Unlike cars, drone technology is still developing as such it currently has more rules and regulations governing drones than there are governing cars. This is essentially because largely due to the fact that drones are seen as more dangerous than cars and as such, they are subject to stricter rules and regulations.
Summarily, both technologies have their advantages and disadvantages if one were to choose between the two. Essentially, one makes a decision based on preference due to the task they are supposed to accomplish. The future is bright that over time, both technologies will advance immeasurably and the cons will be rectified eventually to improve efficiency.