February 9, 2016
Although tech giants are struggling to overpower one another with their drone delivery system developments, the advent of global drone services era gets stuck delayed by swarming issues — from the US Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations to purely technical concerns. Being deeply engaged in "drones-for-business" projects, we decided to make up a brief of major challenges that impede the initiatives and efforts underway to present drone-based services at the international arena.
# 1 The Pretty Reckfull: Air Traffic Jam
Whatever smooth and wowsome promotional videos by the leading drone market players we see, certain troubles are lurking behind the overall exaggerated enthusiasm. One of them concerns drone operations in big cities where the air traffic risks are much higher than somewhere in suburbs. Even though some unmanned flying vehicles feature “sense and avoid” technology that is supposed to ensure a perfectly safe flight, obstacles and potential emergencies are too numerous and varied to get away with.
# 2 Hands Off: Nosy People are the Threat
Landing in the presence of people is a pretty sore point treated by drone services providers much alike, from choosing quiet suburbs or safe outback to employing tether in order to lower or drop supplies. Apart from the density of city landscapes, researchers speak out their concerns about the problem called “the last 50 feet”.
They emphasize that it’s quite natural for people — both adults and children — to be too curious or incautious to stay away from the UAV landing nearby, let alone pets. Moreover, most people are simply unaware they can easily hurt themselves grabbing those seemingly harmless “toys” in the air. A clear proof can be found in the popular video of the mishap during the concert.
# 3 Clumsy Landing, Poor Space
Even in case delivery drone managed to scrape through all the natural and supernatural barriers within the urban surroundings, it would surely seek for a safe relieving landing. But the fact is that actually there are not so many convenient locations for that. This is especially relevant for high-rise apartment buildings in big cities. Yet, the need for the solution is as urgent as ever, even though Amazon already tried out its locker-based delivery system at several selected stores.
Drone researchers admit that a wide network of package pickup lockers, say, on apartment buildings’ roofs, would be the perfect fit. Landing drones beyond the peepers’ reach on 10-foot-tall mailboxes or turning chimneys into delivery chutes for dropped packages is another suggestion from Dr. Parimal H. Kopardekar, NASA investigator. All in all, the investments would cost a pretty penny to bring the ideas into life.