Generally, when we talk about courier services with drones for delivery of food, medicines and others, we usually think about some tests made by some big companies specialized on logistic services. These companies have limited the innovation on their services with the exclusive use of drones; nevertheless, recently we have the possibility to use delivery trucks together with drones for this kind of services.
The benefits of delivery services with drones are obvious: they can operate without being directly monitored, they have a low cost per kilometer and they can go at high speeds avoiding traffic jams. Notwithstanding there are also some inconvenients: currently, drones have a limited range and payload, making it necessary to frequently program them to go back to the departure place.
Combining delivery trucks with drones benefits both systems: the use of drones for courier services reduces the costs and delivery time while delivery trucks provide to drones the necessary autonomy, avoiding to make them go back to a faraway departure point; on this way, the use of delivery trucks together with drones dramatically increases their efficiency. Another advantage is that navigation and infrastructures for traditional vehicles have been developed for many years and they are already optimized, not being the same case for drones for now.
To sum up and just to give an example, a common case would be a group of drones prepared with their payload inside of moving delivery trucks; these drones would takeoff from the truck, performing the delivery of their payload/package and going back to their truck. This use of drones is perfectly scalable, increasing the number of drones performing this kind of service from the same delivery truck.
Compatible UAS for delivery services with delivery trucks and drones
Nowadays, the necessary hardware to develop these systems for courier services through delivery trucks and drones already exists, but separately: we already have systems for autonomous navigation with road vehicles, such as Tesla systems, as well as we have systems of autonomous avionics for drones compatible with delivery services, such as the Veronte Autopilot.
The Veronte Autopilot is in accordance with courier services needs, being developed attending to DO254 and DO178 aeronautical standards, with adaptive control for flights optimization, sense & avoid technology, RTK positioning and much more. In addition, Veronte Autopilots are capable to perform operations from moving platforms such as maneuvers in relation to moving vehicles, coordinated maneuvers with other drones, landing on moving platforms, “follow me” actions and so on.