Drone Delivery May Be a Reality Before 2019 Is

March 14, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Is President Trump a Payment Week reader? It wouldn’t surprise me if he was, because if so, he’s seen the numerous times we’ve talked about drone delivery. That would be the perfect impetus behind recent moves out of the White House, where drone delivery is now being actively pushed for and are actually expected to start making at least some deliveries in the next few months.

The word is that the White House got wind of the fact that several countries—the UK, Singapore and Australia—are ahead of the United States on the drone delivery front, and that was not a thing that should stand. The ever-present threat of “security issues” was said to be a potential limiter, but if that can be effectively addressed, there’s likely to be a lot more drone in the sky shortly.

In fact, word out of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says that this could be a thing in time for summer picnics, with 10 pilot programs approved by the FAA and ready by May. Amazon has been among the front-runners here, pushing the FAA to approve its current drone designs and specific operating rules. The current plan calls for packages that weigh five pounds or less and are being delivered within a 20 mile radius of a distribution center.

Amazon—along with a host of major names from Google to General Electric—has been actively working on a low-altitude traffic control network, with funding from over 10,000 drone-related companies and 70,000 commercial aerial vehicles.

The opportunities are endless; a Consumerist report from 2014 noted that a 14-inch pizza from Domino’s ran 33.8 ounces, with the box included. Five pounds therefore includes two pizzas and likely room for some breadsticks. Conversely, a two-liter bottle of pop from most any brand runs about 4.41 pounds. Imagine what happens to the thin profit margins of a restaurant when it can deliver to areas 30 miles or more away, and people from completely different towns can try the best without having to make the drive themselves.

Specific measurements aside, there’s a lot of room here for drone delivery to accomplish just about anything, from dinner for two to stocking a library. All we need is for the FAA to get out of the way and that may be starting up.