Drone delivery?

Do you remember about three years ago, when drones and mobile robots were on the front page of every presentation about the future of real estate? As with many emerging technologies, their hype has not been matched by delivery. The primary use of drones today is to take pictures from height; something which is both fun for the public and useful for surveyors. However, using them as a delivery mechanism has been delayed for several reasons. The primary one is regulation. It was only in April this year that Wing became the first carrier to achieve the US Federal Aviation Administration approvals needed for air carriage. This week UPS has achieved the same, whilst Amazon awaits approval of its application. These are serious steps forward. Secondly, in order to effect deliveries, the drones need somewhere to land their products. No problem if you live on a farm, but much more of a challenge for the vast majority of urban deliveries. Again, the big firms are thinking about this. Walmart filed two patent applications this week for landing pads and delivery chutes that take a parcel essentially from a ledge outside a building into its interior. These are quite significant interventions in the building fabric that can really only apply to commercial or large flatted schemes. The chances of you knocking a hole in the wall of your house to achieve this feels limited. The implication must be that for the time being deliveries will be to consolidation depots and that the last steps to the front door remain elusive.