Under the sub-heading, “Drone OEMs and operators are developing a range of methods to get goods from the aircraft to the customer’s front door—or at least close to it,” the respected Research company, McKinsey & Co, published a major report last week on the latest developments by the drone industry to resolve that final hurdle of delivering goods to the purchaser’s front door.
The report states, “The last-metre challenge in drone delivery is real. Players must deal with issues such as safety (both for the package and for people on the ground), security after it is delivered, noise, congestion, and the need to optimize network delivery nodes—all under regulations that continue to evolve. There is no single solution to address them all, and players are designing a range of technologies and approaches.”
Researched and written by three of McKinsey’s top analysts, Robin Riedel, Andrea Cornell and Brian Miller, they take a look at the present four different approaches: Tether, Parachute, Dock and Drop, where Tether is by far and away the most popular method (see image below). They cite drone delivery companies Droneup, Flytrex, Manna, SkyDrop, Wing, Wingcopter, and Zipline, as examples of those who successfully use this tether-technique.
The report continues, “This approach allows precise targeting, delivery location flexibility, reverse logistics potential, and ensures the drone remains safely above people and objects, though the tether equipment can add complexity compared to other methods. As a result, this method can excel in lower density urban (e.g., rowhouse rooftops and small gardens) and many suburban and rural environments.”
In choosing which approach to take, the research suggest various evolving factors. These include:-
: Interoperability and standardisation.
: Delivery range.
: Evolving regulations.
: Customer and bystander experience.
: Aligning growth aspirations with delivery capabilities.
(For a full explanation, please read the report below)
The report concludes, “Operators may opt for a fleet strategy, with different last-metre solutions to meet the needs of different customer segments and geographies. Companies could design a single platform that is capable of multiple last-metre approaches. And some may focus on a single platform and method that is ideally suited for a specific and valuable segment.”
Adding, “As drone delivery use cases and volumes continue to grow, only time will tell if drone companies converge to, or diverge from, a single last-metre solution.”
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