In recent years, drones have been used to automate many industries. From package delivery to recreation, the applications are endless. Some companies have been taking it a step further with automated drones in their distribution centers as well – an innovation that is bringing about impressive results.
Most of the media attention that has circulated concerning the use of drones generally revolves around their application as a delivery agent threatening the livelihoods of countless couriers across the nation. Amazon Prime recently delivered a bottle of sunscreen to an Amazon conference in Palm Springs, with UPS and Google following suit with their own displays of technological prowess. Not willing to be outdone, these giants have been some of the leaders in the use of drones at this stage of distribution.
Of course, their limitations are still noticeable. With limits on battery life as well as package weight, these drones have a limited distance they can travel – making them still impractical for widespread use just yet. However, some companies have switched how they use these UAVs for other tasks. Instead of delivering parcels, some businesses are using them for data collection instead. With a small camera feeding wireless video back to the user, these machines can count inventory, patrol borders, and locate trucks. Best of all, without a heavy payload, drones can remain in operation for hours over small areas where there is little need to travel. Not to mention the height advantage that these UAV’s have over mezzanine or work platforms.
UPS has already stepped up to the plate with trial runs involving these machines in their DCs. Proponents of this strategy bring up the fact that drones can reduce employee time spent climbing industrial stairs and platforms to verify the quantity or identity of goods.
Other logistical tasks these drones can contribute to would be security jobs. Inspecting lots, yards, and tracking trucks are all some of the duties that come to mind that can be simplified with the smart use of these UAVs.
Although not yet in widespread use in mid-level logistical operations, this technology holds great promise for the industry. Industry experts are already claiming that this niche market will grow fast in the coming years and will potentially revolutionize how distribution centers maximize use of their industrial shelving, platforms, stairs and mezzanines.
As drone applications continue to develop, the logistics sector should anticipate the coming innovations that these drones can bring to their warehouses, industrial shelving, work platforms, mezzanines and stairs.