Drone Deliveries: Sounds Cool, but is it Good?

Our PR Director, Michelle Smytheman, is passionate about helping emerging professionals in the communications industry and teaches at the University of the Sunshine Coast. As part of an assessment task this year, there have been some excellent blogs written by first-year students about emerging business trends. We are proud to share their work.

By Bita Ardebili Fard and Sarah Parsons

Drones are not only environmentally friendly, but they will also help save you time and money!

In this fast-paced world that we live in, everyone is always busy and on-the-go, and people usually don’t have enough time to get through everything that they need to do during the day.

Because of this, a lot of people rely on fast food joints and delivery services to get what they need. But these options aren’t always the healthiest choice for you or the environment. Delivery services contribute a lot to carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, and cost a lot for you and the business providing the service. However, there is a new way of making these deliveries while helping to reduce environmental issues, and that is by using drone delivery services.

What are the benefits of drone delivery? Why should you use drone deliveries instead of traditional delivery methods?

Well, did you know that drones can save you and businesses time and money?

And that by simply using drone delivery services, you would be a greener and more environmentally friendly consumer?

An article written on the environmental effects of delivery-based drones states “drone-based delivery is crucial for reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions”.

This is because drone delivery reduces the amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by delivery trucks, motorbikes and even your own car as drones are battery-powered and do not emit diesel pollution.

Drones also deliver packages right to your front door within minutes of purchase and reduce your travel costs. Costs that can add up. Why travel to and from shops and fast food drive-thrus when you can have your purchases tracked and delivered right to your front door?

While you might not have noticed it, all those trips to the petrol stations, shopping centres and drive-thrus emit a lot of harmful gasses that contribute to global warming, and let’s not forget about all those delivery trucks driving up and down every street, day in and day out, to deliver your packages. All of these add up and contribute to global warming.

Not only that, but can you imagine how the number of animals killed or injured by vehicles will decrease once people have less reason to travel?

Through the use of drone delivery, reducing your carbon footprint and slowing down global warming won’t just be a dream.

Downside to using delivery drowns

But let’s be honest, like everything man-made in this world, drone delivery services have risks and negative environmental impacts as well. These can include delivery failures due to technology malfunctioning, delays due to bad weather, increased noise and plastic pollution and the disturbance of natural habitats.

They can cause harm to the environment, reduce privacy levels, and injure wildlife. Drones are a novelty, a trend, and still new to the world so people are interested without fully understanding the hazards they present.

Currently, there is only one company in Australia providing a drone delivery service. According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), this company, called Wing Aviation, only provides customers with food and beverages in the Northern Canberra area (ACT) and Logan (QLD). Both of these areas are well-populated and the environments within the cities are very important. Drone deliveries have a negative impact on these environments.

Drone deliveries are confusing and traumatising birds, who follow the smell of hot, delicious foodstuffs, and end up flying into a tree or the ground or the drone itself, or even attacking the person who comes to collect the food. If the pilot loses control of the drone, it may cause injury to other animals, or even get attacked by animals who recognise it as creating an unsafe environment. The sounds of the drone deliveries have resulted in the disappearance of some types of wildlife.

Let’s further discuss the noise pollution of drones. Delivery drones will stay close to roads and houses, to ensure that they get the best possible route, which adds a lot of ear pain to people’s lives. This noise, in addition to privacy concerns, leads to people feeling discomfort in their own homes. Drones cause a negative visual and social impact – nobody wants to see a UFO flying around!

And what if the drone breaks or malfunctions? Then it leaves little plastic bits all over the ground. Since they are flown autonomously, this also means Wing has to send someone to come pick it up. The life cycle of batteries used in drones is also a concern.

Weather conditions can also affect the quality of the service. Drone deliveries would be severely limited in stormy or rainy weather and thus can pose even more potential problems to the environment. Airspace would be even more restricted in these types of weather conditions.

It’s very unlikely that drone deliveries will become mainstream delivery methods. People would be better off focusing on electric cars or reducing the negative impacts of warehousing.

In conclusion, drone delivery services can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment. So, at the end of the day, it is up to you, the reader, to determine whether it is worth it or not.

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