The trend of Drones, otherwise known as ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ (UAVs), refers to the development and utilization of variously shaped aircraft without a human pilot or crew on board. Enabled by embedded sensors and transceivers to navigate, drones are often controlled remotely by a human pilot, but advanced versions can fly autonomously beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) using software-controlled flight plans.
For almost a decade, drones have been seen as a potential new mode of delivery for logistics organizations. While holding great promise to provide quick, point-to-point shipping, this trend remains far from realization – regulations and technology, as well as economics, have limited drone delivery to only a few isolated operations around the world. However, as this primary use case progressively develops, other applicable areas along the supply chain have been identified, from security to dimensioning. Drone providers are continuously shaping and improving their products and services to meet these needs.
The trend of Drones has moderately high impact on logistics. As a new transport mode, UAVs can enable transportation lanes previously deemed too costly. Beyond transportation, they can help save time for logistics workers undertaking operational tasks. Still, there are only some use cases applicable today which is why the most impactful applications of this trend are beyond 5 years. Both technological advancement and regulatory development are required to bring drones to a standard fit for service at scale.