February 01, 2021

Why do we need drone delivery?

Think back to the last time you came down with a cold, opened your medicine cabinet and found nothing useful. Chances are you hopped in a car that weighs thousands of pounds (~700 aardvarks) to pick up a container of medicine smaller than the palm of your hand. You sat stuffy-nosed at traffic lights and walked into a store while ill, all the while contributing to road congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Then again, maybe you don’t have a car. Maybe you’re taking care of young children, or a sick relative, or dealing with an injury or illness yourself. At any given moment, there are millions of people that might need something, but can’t easily leave their home for one reason or another. Drone delivery is a safer, faster and more sustainable way to access items we need. It’s not a one-size-fits all solution, but it will be part of an intelligent transportation system, taking advantage of the sky to deliver small packages on demand.

Wing’s drones weigh 400 times less than the average car, and typically make deliveries in less than a third of the time than other modes of delivery. Customers get their products in minutes at a fraction of the cost; local businesses are able to expand their footprint to connect with more customers; and communities benefit with fewer cars on the road, less traffic, fewer accidents and less emissions.

For example, a recent study by Virginia Tech explored the potential benefits of drone delivery in three metropolitan areas across the United States (Christiansburg, Virginia; Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio). It found that in a single city, at scale, drone delivery could:

  • Support up to 66,000 people who lack access to a vehicle
  • Help 22,000 people with transportation challenges better adhere to their prescription medication
  • Generate up to $284,000 dollars (USD) in new sales each year for a participating local business (equivalent to 250% growth)
  • Reduce road travel by up to 294 million miles per year
  • Help to avoid 580 road accidents
  • Reduce emissions equivalent to over 46,000 acres of new forest in each service area

Other studies explore the benefits of drone delivery over the long term. For example, by 2030, drone delivery across the state of Queensland, Australia could lower delivery costs by 70%, reduce vehicle miles traveled by 470 million vehicle kilometres per year and save 100,000 tons in CO2 emissions per year.

Did you know? Use of the service increased fivefold in the early months of the pandemic.

Family receiving Wing drone delivery package