Drones for the Future of Transport

26 July 2017       Blog

We have all seen and heard about the small drones that are becoming more prevalent in our skies. There is a company in the US called Matternet that is developing drones on a grander scale.  They have been very successful in implementing their unmanned aerial vehicles in PGN where they transported medication and tests for tuberculosis into remote areas. The humanitarian organisation Medicins Sans Frontieres has welcomed this innovation as access to some of these places is almost impossible but by employing these “gadgets” they are able to continue their admirable work more efficiently.

Matternet is now working on what they believe is the next revolutionary progression after the internal combustion engine.  The device is 90 per cent software and 10 per cent hire work and because it is small and capable of carrying its own weight, it will prove to be very economical as well as energy efficient.  It will be possible to direct freight almost anywhere as demonstrated in PNG where there is little telecommunication infrastructure but the packages were delivered without a glitch.

There have been concerns about the safety of introducing drones and potential congestion of the earth’s atmosphere but they will be flying in an air space of below 400 feet so will not interfere with the flight paths of larger planes. However I do believe that there will need to be the introduction of legislation in an attempt to regulate the usage of these machines. Apparently even inexperienced users will be able to easily control the passage of the air freight drone as the destination and return sites are pre-cleared.

It is interesting to note how popular these gadgets are becoming by performing a search on such websites as EBay and Gumtree. The number of drones available for purchase is staggering and surprisingly cheap and their applications are becoming more widespread. I was at my golf club recently and a drone was hovering about 20 metres above the ground.  Apparently it was being used to map out the course.

It is fascinating to contemplate this new unmanned aerial vehicle technology and the possible applications, especially in the field of transport and freight deliveries. Experienced drivers are in short supply and it would seem that the younger generation is not choosing long hauls as a career path. The development of drones will alleviate some of these issues and perhaps even become the answer to all delivery problems!

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