September 16, 2020
As the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program comes to a close, Virginia Tech has released a report studying the economic impact of drone delivery across the United States. The university modeled the effects of drone delivery on three metropolitan areas within five years of launch, representing a cross-section of U.S. cities: Christiansburg in Virginia, Austin in Texas and Columbus in Ohio. The study is unique in combining qualitative interviews with economic modeling and traffic simulations to understand the implications of drone delivery across a range of diverse communities.
The full report is available here
By year five after launch, in a single metropolitan area, drone delivery could:
Importantly, the study shows that different communities may benefit from drone delivery in different ways. For example, lower density communities would experience greater time savings for residents (in hours) than higher density communities, given their mobility constraints. However, higher density communities would experience greater value of time savings (in dollars) when accounting for higher cost of living.
In addition, Virginia Tech modeled the benefits for particular demographics. For example, they project that an elderly resident could save up to 25 hours per year in avoidable travel with drone delivery; a parent with children could save up to 107 hours per year; and a single working professional could save up to 214 hours per year.