Since the drone technology was introduced to the world, it has advanced immensely and it is evident that we are using the technology to execute almost any task imaginable. Over the years, the technology has been hyped to change the logistics sector as far as package delivery is concerned and various reputable companies have embarked on making the vision a reality. Due to a pool of innovative ideas from various companies, different delivery systems have been designed, developed and some even being implemented. Reviews have indicated that every system has its pros and cons that are either unique or can appear in other systems as well. It has to be pointed out that most of the systems are ideal for light weight deliveries.
One of the systems is that a drone lands in an open space generally such as a backyard, garden, parking lot and others to deliver a package. One would argue that this is an impressive system as it is convenient and collection is easy, considering the distance from the consumer to the package. However, the downside is that the consumer has to ensure that the designated space is clear of hindrances that would otherwise make the drone detect obstacles which would result in the changing of course or the drone harming humans, animals, pets and others. Concisely, when the drones are flying to the location, they identify static objects and other obstacles and when they are detected especially the latter, the drone automatically changes its course. Further, the system requires a surrounding that is clean because the package would get damaged for instance with dust or water.
Additionally, “drop-off” mechanism is another system that is being viewed as viable. Basically, a package is attached to a deployable parachute or glider and once the package reaches its destination, it (package) is released from mid-air to safely lower the it to the ground. One of the advantages of using this system is that it reduces the risk of the drone causing harm or being damaged during delivery. However, safe landings are not guaranteed, not to mention various environmental hazards such as humans, pets and obstacles. To add, the system can be affected by weather conditions such as wind; high winds can have significant effect on how parachutes fly such that they can be pushed off course, sometimes even backwards.
Another way of drone delivery is “catch” where a mechanism such as a net, basket, gripper arms, vacuum suction or magnets are used to securely grab and hold a package during flight and once the drone has reached its destination, it is lowered down safely. Theoretically or when the practical implementation is efficient, a well-designed catch mechanism enables quick and efficient delivery as well as providing safety by minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries associated with ground-based delivery methods, such as collisions or traffic accidents. However, there are chances of malfunction or fail, which can contribute to package damage or loss and some mechanisms pose a threat to people if they are not properly designed and maintained such as a gripper arm.
Furthermore, some companies use the “hybrid” drone delivery where there is a combination of different methods for instance using the catch mechanism for light payload and landing system for heavier packages. The primary advantage of this is the increased speed, efficiency in addition to improved flexibility and scalability. Nevertheless, the strength of the system; tailoring to specific needs and requirements of the delivery process comes with drawbacks particularly possible difficulties in coordination between different modes of transportation, and development of the technology to make it possible.
One of the companies that has come up with an innovative way of delivering, by minimizing some of the performance issues in systems highlighted above is Delivery Glider AG- Jedsy and the system is called “Mailbox delivery”. Simply, a structure called mailbox (which is extremely stable, waterproof and durable as it is made of aluminum) can be installed at a window or balcony and this is where the drone lands to complete the delivery. Once it arrives, the recipient or consumer is notified via the Jedsy application so they can collect. The notable advantages of the mailbox or balcony delivery is that there is no need for a large open space, there is assurance of getting payload while its intact as the risk of hard impact when dropping is minimal, packages are accessible without leaving the house and deliveries are well suited for various kinds of weather.
Last mile delivery is a crucial component in the logistics industry and efforts are being made to provide best solutions possible. Over the years, due to excellent innovation and creativity, drones have been in the forefront of making the change conceivable and various drone delivery systems have been developed. However, though the inventions are proving to be a game changer, they have encountered a wide range of weaknesses and rectifying them would significantly reduce potential risks, accidents and damages.