Shawn is bewildered, forgot to buy gift for his daughter Eli’s birthday today and its already 7 p.m in the evening. He has recently shifted to the row houses on the outskirts of Hyderabad near to the bypass where he can skip almost the entire city and reach home in 70-80 mins. He was almost regretting the decision as there is no toy store nearby he can visit and does not have the energy to drive to the city. He goes online to a retail store. Recently his daughter has mentioned a particular toy which is a rage in her school and luckily he is able to recollect the name and buy it online with that new fancy delivery option. It is already 7:20. He drives home praying and as he parks his car in the driveway he looks at his watch, its 8:45 p.m. As he steps out he could hear his daughter talking excitedly to his wife and explaining something. Suddenly the house door opens and Eli rushes out and hugs him. To his relief she has the toy in her hand, delivered 15 mins back. Wife is at the door with that look of “why can’t you plan better” or “you lucky bastard”, I can never tell exactly, but Eli is happy. Thank god this new tech option works and works so well. Delivery in a city with 60-70 km diameter with 11 million people with this accuracy.
We call the new technology “Drone Port Mesh Network”
The technology is a mix of Drones and Humans in a most time efficient manner and uses a least hop mechanism. So as soon as Shawn ordered the toy, the least time and highest probable route was selected and order processed.
Typical steps involved are:
- Shawn orders the toy on his mobile app with the retailer “ABC Corp”.
- Order reaches the nearest warehouse which has the Item (toy) available.
- Item goes to the nearest Drone port located at rooftop in every business district.
- Item flies from Drone port to the Drone port nearest to the delivery location.
- Item is then taken from the Drone and last mile is done by a delivery person physically.
|Delivery using Drone Mesh network (40 km Delivery) for any item||Manual delivery process|
|Ware house packing and labelling: 10 mins||Ware house packing and labelling: 10 mins|
|Drone loading and configuring: 5 mins||Loading into delivery Van: 5 mins|
|Drone travel to Destination port (distance 40 km) 20 mins||Truck/Bike travel to Destination (distance 40 km) 60-120 mins|
|Unloading and loading onto delivery backpack: 10 mins|
|Delivered at destination: 15 mins||Delivered at destination: 5 mins|
|Total Time taken: 60 mins||Total Time taken: 80 mins – 140 mins|
Case 1: Delivery process for any Item using Drones
Let us take another use case of delivery of food from your favourite restaurant to your home 40 km away. As of today, no restaurant will take this order, but with this drone delivery, very much possible.
Shawn orders the meal online from his app. Does not care about where in the city, restaurant is located
|Delivery using Drone Mesh network (40 km Delivery)||Manual delivery (unviable for > 8 km)|
|Once order come in Delivery person from nearest Drone port/another location reaches the restaurant – 10 mins||Person from the logistics company reaches the restaurant – 10 mins|
|In Parallel Food is made ready and packed – 10 mins||In Parallel Food is made ready and packed – 10 mins|
|Delivery person reaches the nearest drone port and loads the food – 8 mins||Delivery person starts for the destination 40 km away – 60 to 120 mins|
|Drone travels to the Port nearest to the destination 40 km – 20 mins||Delivery person delivers at the destination|
|Delivery person unloads the package and delivers to the destination –10 mins|
|Total Time – ~60 mins||Total time – 80-140 mins|
Net time taken to deliver food at a distance of 40 kms is ~50 – 60 mins. It’s the predictability and human labour cost savings that make the delivery viable and possible.
- Every Drone that takes off is authorised by Drone authority and approved.
- Every drone gets an IPv6 number on being built and is registered with Government authority.
Drone port functionality:
These are typically built on unused rooftops of commercial buildings. This is a new rental opportunity for landlords. This is how a typical Drone port will look like. It will have:
- Sufficient space for landing and take off
- Quick drone loading unloading infrastructure including basic drone maintenance
- Drone quick charging stations.
- Small storage for non-food items to deliver at leisure.
Possible Drone port Mesh Network in Hyderabad:
Drone port visualisation:
Using this method quick and reliable delivery will become an accepted fact. Cost of long range delivery using humans is cost prohibitive and time consuming. Using a person to deliver restaurant food over more than 6-7 km means that you have to add 25% of day salary of the employee to order charge. Drones will change all that. Thinks like medicines, urgent spare parts will also use this Drone facility.
Building this Capex of Drone ports etc. will require significant investment. Existing logistics players/large corporates can do this. Technologically this is very much feasible as Drones only have to go point to point and not navigate through crowded streets.