Commercial Hubs Can Launch Drone Delivery

 By M^2

Ever since I was a kid I have had my head in the clouds. I have always been interested in aviation and the dream of flying through the sky. Now that I am an adult I am able to make my dreams a reality. During the spring semester of my first year at UNO I declared Aviation as my major, and I never looked back. Learning about everything aviation has been a dream and it has opened my eyes to the possibilities of the open skies. As scary as artificial intelligence and technology can be, it also has great benefits for consumers. In the Aviation Industry, drones are becoming the future. Commercial delivery drones are on the brink of becoming a reality, and the possibilities are endless. From surveying to film production, drones are becoming very versatile. However, one of the greatest uses of drones is the capability to transport medical supplies to those in need. The only problem is, FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulation still prohibits long distance flights for Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS). The solution is very simple, but has a heavy up-front cost. The implementation of commercial hubs will solve out-of-sight flights and will help to kick start delivery drones.

In the world, today, convenience is everything. From groceries, to clothes shopping, to medicine, we need everything now. Companies, such as Amazon, have mastered the “one day delivery” and they are working on making it as cheap as possible. However, for some communities around the world, shopping is not a necessity. Less wealthy, third world countries are effected more by disease and natural disaster and can only focus on surviving day to day. For these communities, a different form of delivery must be possible. A company named Zipline has created drones that can deliver medicine and other medical supplies to communities in Africa that are harder to reach. In America, however, these drones have not passed federal regulation, and cannot fly. Delivery companies, such as Zipline, should create hubs attached to the warehouses to pass federal drone regulation.

Drones have been the “next big thing” in the aviation industry for over ten years now, “The CIA had been flying unarmed drones over Afghanistan since 2000” (Sifton), but they still are not fully functional. The Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, realizes the potential for drones but also knows the risks that come along with technology that is so untamable. It is too easy for a hobbyist to go to their local toy store and pick up their very own drone. These hobbyists, often kids or irresponsible adults, are able to take their new toy home, open it up, and immediately start flying it. This can pose many safety risks including injury to the pilot, incidents with planes if they are close enough to an airport, and injury to others if the drone falls out of the sky. Although drone related injuries may happen, there are far worse disasters happening every day around the world.
Natural disasters occur on a regular basis around the world, floods can leave people stranded at their homes and earthquakes can make it hard to get any support to the area. When an earthquake occurs, such as the one in Haiti in 2010, it is nearly impossible to provide relief for those affected by the disaster. This is where drones can be a huge help. Drones are small and can reach areas that larger helicopters cannot, and can provide necessary vaccinations or medical supplies that can keep people alive until more help arrives. Drones used for medical delivery have already been implemented in Rwanda, Africa, through a company named Zipline. Zipline uses their drones to supply rural villages in Africa with vaccines, blood, and other required medical supplies much faster than a car or train. Although a car is able to transport far more supplies than a drone, if the area floods, or roads are in bad condition, the supplies will not make it to the communities and people may die. Amar Toor, author of Drones Will Begin Delivering Blood and Medicine in the US, explains the practicality of drone usage for medical situations: Zipline’s electric-powered drones, called “Zips,” can carry up to three pounds of blood or medicine, and can fly for up to 75 miles on a single charge. Hospitals can order blood or medicine via text message, and have them delivered by parachute from a Zip. The 22-pound planes navigate using GPS and cellular networks, and can make deliveries within 30 minutes, negating the need for onboard refrigeration. (Toor) The drones will not need onboard refrigeration, meaning that the trip is so short, the supplies will not spoil. Zipline has been extremely successful in Africa, so the CEO, Keller Rinaudo, hopes to start deliveries in America, as long as federal regulations pass. By creating hubs or warehouses across the United States, Zipline can limit each drone flight and save more lives.

Hubs such as these should be the solution for Amazon, UPS, USPS, FedEx, Zipline and Walmart as well. Amazon already needs large warehouses for all of the products that they sell, so if they are able to create more warehouses that double as delivery drone hubs, they could start to fly more line of sight flights. The creation of these hubs would also create jobs and would boost the economy in the areas in which the hubs are located. “A study conducted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International shows that more than 70,000 new American jobs are poised to be created in the first three years following the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into U.S. national airspace system. More than 100,000 new jobs are expected by 2025” (Toscano).

As we can see, speedy delivery is what is needed, and drones are the solution. With these delivery drones, jobs will be created, there will be a boost in the economy, and lives will be saved. By implementing warehouses across the nation, drones will be supplied and deployed faster, thus delivering the products in a more timely fashion. People love to think about the future, about what technology will be like, what the economy will be like, and will our environmental situation turn around. It is often hard to find the answers since no one can truly predict all of these things. Aviation has been able to provide answers in the past and has offered a future in the sky, and now the industry looks to take this one step further. The technology of the future looks small and remote, the economy looks promising with more and more jobs being created every day through Zipline and other delivery companies, and the environment is starting to turn around thanks to small, battery powered, Unmanned Arial Systems.

 

References

“Can we put out health into the hands of robots? Almost…” Emedia the Econocom blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Sifton, John. “A Brief History of Drones.” The Nation, 29 June 2015,

http://www.thenation.com/article/brief-history-drones/. Accessed 14 Mar. 2017.

Toor, Amar. “Drones will begin delivering blood and medicine in the US.” The Verge. The

Verge, 02 Aug. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Toscano, Michael. “Study: US Drone Industry To Create More Than 100,000 Jobs.” CBS DC,

12 Mar. 2013, washington.cbslocal.com/2013/03/12/study-us-drone-industry-to-create

more-than-100000-jobs/. Accessed 14 Mar. 2017.

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5 thoughts on “Commercial Hubs Can Launch Drone Delivery

  1. I like the idea of drones being used to help people in dire situations in places where medical supplies or food are not readily available. On the other hand I do not like the idea of drones flying around the neighborhood, since people nowadays can do so much with the internet and they would not be on a closed circuit. So the chances of being hacked are greater.

  2. We definitely should start using drones to deliver medical supplies. There is even a lot of places in the US that are hard to reach, such as places in Alaska and drones could help them get the supplies they need faster.

  3. You really make me feel optimistic about this kind of technology benefiting people in the near future. However, I worry about basing that much of our infrastructure on the same system. Viruses and such could cause a lot of chaos.

  4. I liked your stance on using delivery drones to reach areas affected by natural disasters. It would make it easier for stranded people to recover until assistance arrives.

  5. Max: your visual came a long way! I remember that line graph about delivery times for your first draft. This visual definitely has a stronger pathos. This topic feels very timely and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more about it in the near future.
    -Melanie

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