UPS has beaten heavy competition to begin supplying medical supplies to hospital supply company, WakeMed, via autonomous delivery drones. This marks a milestone for it being the first time that any company has commercially provided effective delivery for highly sensitive and perishable goods like blood using drones.
Much of the hype surrounding this development is what this means for the near future. Many are commenting that this will be the beginning of delivery drones bringing everything from retail items to lifesaving organ transplants to businesses and homeowners via advanced networks of autonomous drones.
It’s taken many years for the technology being worked on my many major tech giants to get a point where this kind of function can become a reality. Implications such as how to protect fleets of self-navigating delivery drones from vandalism and theft, how to ensure that no damage or injury is created by them, and how this relatively new tech can be reliable enough for your dinner to arrive on time, let alone a lifesaving emergency blood transfusion.
Delivery Drones are Big Business
Some of the largest companies in the US and globally have all been competing for first-mover advantages into the potentially multi-billion-dollar market. This is also one of the more obvious ways in which the fears of certain jobs being made obsolete en-masse could be realised. If the technology proves to be efficient and reliable, and especially if the cost is greatly reduced, we could expect to a huge upheaval within any sector that currently relies on humans to deliver items to customers.
While UPS has beaten out it’s competitors to be the first into the delivery drone market, it remains to be seen whether technological powerhouses such as Amazon will move into UPS’ slipstream and be able to expand upon the successful model which UPS has put in place.
Although delivery is clearly the bread and butter of UPS, Amazon has aggressively moved into many markets and niches, and used a combination of superior technological prowess and resources, and possibly the strongest brand in the world today with regards to advanced and emerging technologies.
While it remains to be seen what is next for industries like food delivery, retail delivery and medical delivery, it’s clear from these first promising steps that in the not-too-distant future, the skies may likely be filled with thousands of electronic delivery workers.