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Are couriers going to be replaced by drone deliveries?

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Thursday, 13 August 2015 GMT

Author: Staveley Head

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s a drone!

Yes one day soon you could look up into the sky and see a swarm of unmanned miniature vehicles delivering parcels. The biggest up side to drone delivery is that you’ll be able to place an order and have it delivered within 30 minutes!

In fact it’s already begun. Drones are being tested right now on small islands and in places with complex infrastructure like the Australian outback as you read this blog.

Amazon was the first to reveal its big plans to deliver parcels within half an hour with the use of ‘Amazon Prime Air’, Amazon’s very own drone that uses GPS to locate its destination for delivery. The question is did Amazon release their plans for delivery drones too soon?


© Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Now Amazon delivery partners are joining the drone trend too. DHL have created the ‘parcelcopter’ which delivers small parcels, but only to the German island of Juist at present. Likewise UPS and FedEx have been experimenting with drone technology, yet they’re still in the early stages.

So how long will we have to wait to place and receive an order in 30 minutes?  Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos predicts drones will be in working order within five years whereas others are less optimistic, predicting closer to 15.

What would drone delivery mean for couriers?

It may mean that couriers will have to travel further and work longer hours. Or that a new niche business of reliable humans delivering parcels, for people who don’t trust unmanned vehicles is created! Drones do not travel long distances and their reliability is uncertain, so there’s no need to dust off the CV just yet…or at least for the next 5 years! It’s when quantum transportation takes over that you should be worried.

Drones and Insurance

Within this blog we focus on drone couriers but they’re already being used in other industries. For example, there are drones already working on US builders yards and let’s not forget the drones that manned the skies at FIFA 2014. This makes the future of insurance a little clearer. There have already been cases where companies have tried to claim via their product and public liability insurance. However these policies generally only insure work carried out on the ground, therefore a separate policy that protects aerial work could now be required. Some companies have already begun providing drone insurance, but would it not make sense to understand the use of drones a little more before entering this new market?

Would you trust a drone? Tell us your thoughts on twitter and facebook

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