More and more things are being delivered by drones

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At least, that’s what an IT maintenance and support company outside London is trying to do in a pilot project. Around the world, food chains, restaurants and household goods companies are trying to figure out how to make their logistics processes faster and more economical by using drones. But a recent UK news story shows that drone delivery has potential in other areas too.

Smart CT, based in Reading, near London, is running a pilot programme to deliver computer parts and equipment to its customers. According to the Register, the company, which specialises in large-scale IT maintenance and support, is testing it out with a single partner nearby. They will decide what to do next in the light of experience with the programme.

The drones are not, of course, intended to transport server cabinets, but smaller devices such as a headset or an iPad. For example, a hard disk has already been successfully transported in a test round.

The company says that overall, the method could not only be faster and cheaper, but could also reduce the strain on roads and the environment by saving a traditional car journey.

Despite the undoubted benefits, it is not yet clear whether the problems associated with this method can be overcome. On the one hand, it is far from certain that it will be possible to fly drones directly to customers on a larger scale. An intermediate distribution point may be needed, which would immediately put some of the benefits of the plan into perspective. A no less delicate detail is that commercial transport will also require a licence from the UK CAA.

They have been trying for a long time

Smart CT is far from alone in this. Amazon, for example, has been preparing to put drones to work for about a decade, but for various reasons it hasn’t really taken off yet. Most recently, the US e-commerce giant reported that it would begin deliveries in Europe after the US. It is planned that autonomous machines could be in operation in some regions of the UK and Italy sometime this year.

Wing, which is linked to Google parent company Alphabet, started working with an Australian grocery chain two years ago, using the drone developer’s machines to deliver small orders in Canberra. In addition to Australia, Wing is also experimenting in the US, Finland and Ireland.

Finally, also in the UK, Royal Mail announced last year a pilot programme using remotely piloted aircraft to deliver mail in areas where weather decimating ships can cause significant delays, such as the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. Originally planned for three months, the trial programme is reportedly being extended.


Source: theregister.com

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