Booming last-mile drone deliveries forecast to skyrocket post-COVID

The advent of COVID turbo-charged last-mile drone delivery activity had already been expanding before the pandemic’s arrival. Now, new research shows that expansion is poised to surge even more in coming years.

Drone deliveries to rise 19% per year

According to business research firm Fact.MR, last-mile delivery activity is forecast to reach $88 billion worldwide by the end of 2021. The US and Canada currently dominate that business with a combined 59%, followed by Europe. Overall, the global sector is expected to expand by an average annual compounded rate of 19% through 2031. 

India and China should generate the highest annual national expansion rates, with Gulf countries posting yearly increases of 20%.

COVID-inspired health precautions that fueled last-mile demand for more than a year now will remain a factor in continued growth for the foreseeable future. Yet the study says the strongest long-term motor of drone delivery increases will come from rapid technological advances. 

Tech makes UAVs smarter, faster

Smarter, more autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), the report said, are making drone use in deliveries faster, easier, cheaper, contact-free options to box-lugging drivers.

Recently, aerial drones with rotatory wings integrated with software solutions that support the functionality of AI technology have been launched…Technological advancement and incorporation of AI have amplified the autonomous last-mile delivery adoption, especially that of aerial delivery drones, within the e-commerce sector. This will create attractive opportunities for the growth of the market.

UAVs stake out 61% of last-mile delivery activity. Rotary wing aerial drones were used in 40% of that business. The study expects technological improvements will also drive increases of ground transport rivals of about 19% annually.

China set to boom

Leaders in the sector include Amazon, Starship Technologies, Cleveron, Eliport, Savioke, and Nuro, with retailers like Walmart and Kroger having also recently joined the action. Last September, meanwhile, China’s Alibaba rolled out robotic last-mile deliveries of about 500 packages each day.

Chinese use of delivery drones will be particularly reinforced, the report states, by faster access to technological improvements than most countries will enjoy.

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