Logistics and traffic
In logistics, drones are of interest for taking inventory of extensive high-bay warehouses, for example. They can detect unused or damaged storage spaces or scan barcodes to quickly and conveniently identify incorrectly sorted goods. Freight and passenger transport will also benefit from drones in the future. Here, however, the industry is in its infancy. It has been experimenting with cargo drones for more than a decade. Amazon, Alphabet subsidiary Wing, and Walmart subsidiary Droneup all deliver goods by air. By its own account, Amazon has now done so successfully a hundred times, Droneup 110,000 times, and Wing 330,000 times. The US company Zipline already claims 600,000 deliveries, mostly in Africa and Australia. However, concepts for airspace surveillance at the low altitudes at which such drones travel are still in their early stages and limit the use of cargo drones, especially in urban environments.
Passenger drones, which are not yet as technologically advanced as cargo drones, would also depend on this airspace surveillance. According to the Vertical Flight Society, there are about 350 companies worldwide that want to develop such passenger drones; a wave of consolidation is sweeping the fledgling industry. Announcements for the start of regular flight operations have been numerous, but reality always caught up with them – a lot of venture capital alone does not create a market. Yet this will certainly happen in the next few years. A pilot will always have to be on board at first, though, which does not make it any easier to operate such passenger drones economically. After all, they only have a few seats.