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The future is drones says survey

05 September 2014

New research commissioned by the National Aeronautical Centre reveals that 42% of logistics carriers believe their business plans to use UAVs for the distribution of cargo in future.

With fuel prices identified as one of the most important perceived risks facing the logistics industry, combined with predicted strong growth in international freight volumes, UAVs may provide cost savings for logistics companies in the long term, as it is anticipated that fuel requirements for UAVs will be lower than for conventional aircraft.

The research also reveals over a third (36%) of freight forwarders believe UAVs will be used for the future distribution of cargo. While huge volumes of cargo are currently still transported on passenger aircraft, the cost of this transportation method may see companies investigating alternative solutions such as UAVs in future.

On average, companies believed they would witness the introduction of these solutions for commercial application within the next fifteen years.

However, the NAC’s findings also reveal that those involved in the design and manufacture of UAVs will need to demonstrate to the market that in future they will be able to carry heavy payloads. The highest ranking concern from logistics firms and freight forwarders was that UAVs would not be able to transport sufficient tonnage to replace manned marine and air freight distribution solutions.