Delivery Drones and Packaging Requirements

Drone with parcel to be delivered

We are truly living in the future. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (commonly known as ‘drones’) were pioneered by the military to reduce pilot casualties, but the technology is now available to the wider public. Companies are increasingly looking into the prospects of using drones for deliveries. What stage is the technology at and what are the requirements for packaging if your product or foodstuff is being transported by drone? Let’s take a look.

Drone Technology

Every extended group of friends is likely to include at least one drone bore. These early adopters of the technology seemingly speak another language: all “quadcopters”, “gimbles” and “gyroscopes”. However, the fact that the technology is now available on the high street shows how affordable drones have become.

Interested Corporations

Companies that offer to bring something to your door have to factor in the cost of delivery. This means paying a driver to deliver your pizza or your package. Automating the delivery process appeals to these companies as a possible money-saving measure. Various postal companies and an enterprising Domino's franchise have all conducted drone delivery trials. 

Legal Implications

In America, the Federal Aviation Administration - the regulatory body responsible for all civil aviation - have banned drone deliveries. In the UK, the idea is still legally permissible. The only restrictions that have so far been placed on drones is that they may not be flown near airports or prisons - not that this has stopped some idiots from trying.

Packaging Implications

Let’s suppose that some years down the line, postal delivery by drone becomes commonplace (and bear in mind that Amazon have recently patented miniature parachute technology). What are the implications for packaging if a parcel is to be dropped into your back garden by drone rather than handed to you by a postman? Perhaps the plastic box will replace the cardboard box as the favoured packaging for delivered parcels. Plastic is a durable and waterproof material that will offer some protection (from impact and from rainwater) for the box’s contents.

It remains to be seen whether drones will become a cost effective method of delivery for parcels and boxed takeaway meals. However if the technology continues to improve and the price continues to drop and no legislation is put in place to prevent it - there is no reason why drones shouldn’t replace delivery drivers. If it comes to pass, packaging will have to adapt and plastic is likely to play a key part in that.

Do you have a packaging design concept that will put you ahead of the game as far as drone technology is concerned? Talk to our product development team by calling us on +44 1692 501020.

Follow us on Twitter at @CodaPlastics for regular news from the world of plastics and packaging. 

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