Monday, November 2, 2015

Are drones really the best way to streamline product delivery?

Every day we hear more and more about the use of drones as a means of streamlining the consumer delivery process. As Amazon and its fellow competitors side with the use of these drones, there is an Estonia-based company, known as Starship Technologies, that feels there is a much more simple approach to this process.  Starship Technologies feels that by using simple six-wheeled robots, they can speed up the delivery process, while also eliminating the problems that may come from a malfunctioning drone (i.e. a drone and its cargo falling out of the sky onto a crowded sidewalk).
These robots are small battery powered vehicles that travel at a max speed of 4mph. Each robot has the ability to carry upwards of 20lbs, about two grocery bags worth of cargo. Another important feature is the delivering business’ ability to lock the robot. Upon arrival the customer can then use a security locked app on their phone that has the ability to unlock the robot that delivered their package[1]. This is the best way to protect the robot and its cargo from theft. Using GPS technology the robots will navigate independently, having only a handful of humans that will monitor their whereabouts. By using this form of delivery, Starship Technologies feel they can cut delivery prices down to one-tenth of traditional delivery costs.
The important topics to note about to this form of delivery is that it will be a much safer form of delivery (as opposed to drones or humans), as well as the economic advantages it give to both the consumer and business. By cutting delivery costs, a company can now use the capital it saves on delivery costs on thing such as R&D, or even pay their employees more. As I mentioned earlier these ground based drones will also be much safer than drones for the sole reason that they are human monitored and don’t offer the risk of falling out of the sky. Another advantage this form of IT offers is that it does not breach any FAA regulations that the companies using drones are facing. While not having to focus on these laws, Starship Technologies can direct all of their time to perfecting their ground based robots to ensure they function exactly as expected.     
The issue of package security is the only problem that caught my attention after reading this article. While Starship Technologies says they will keep the consumers package safe through locks that can only be opened using an app, what is to keep a person from grabbing one off the street and breaking open the package compartment. This differs from the drone in that drones fly well above human reach, further protecting its contents. I feel that by simplifying this delivery process to robots, as opposed to drones, Starship Technologies is saving themselves the hassle that Amazon and other competitors will initially face from drones.



  1. I think drones delivering products could have tons of security complications. If someone outside of the company was able to gain control of the drones, all they would have to do is change the delivery coordinates, wait for the drone to arrive and unlock the drone to have access to the item inside. Also environmental factors such ignorant people just destroying the drones for fun, like what was done to the hitchhiking drone during its visit to Philadelphia. I think human delivery is the safest way to ensure the arrival of packages, although you may not receive the package as fast you will know it is safe.

  2. Just like Ryder Harkins i don't think this idea will be as successful as its made out to be. Along with the issue that these drones are incapable of reacting to environmental factors the cost and risk of putting these drones out there would also be a major problem. How much will it cost to control these drones, in the sense that It will take time to teach current employees how to operate them.. They say it will provide their employees with a higher paychecks but the staff that’s already in tact will have to be cut or taught how to adapt to their new job assignments because of he lack of drone knowledge they posses and the people who usually deliver will no longer be needed

  3. Like Andrew and Ryder I do not like the idea of drones. I believe it would create huge problems if drones started malfunctioning and did not operate as planned. I believe the costs of drones will be through the roof. I don’t see why companies are constantly attempting to implement drones into their business plan when the normal human employee is working out just fine. My final point about why I think drones are not a good idea is because of their security issues. I agree with Ryder’s point that if another company is able to gain control of the drones it will create a huge issue for the company. Also, customers may have a problem with the idea of drones because they believe drones are spying on them. So many companies want to implement drones but I still cant see why.


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