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Drones could complement the national freight task: Report

Drones are expected to become an integral part of Australia’s transport industry as a result of rapid technological advancements.

The Federal Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts claim that drones have the potential to transform the transport and logistics industry by providing alternative methods for delivering parcels, food and medical supplies.

According to the Deloitte Access Economics, 2020 report, parcel delivery drones alone are forecast to produce $205 to $240 million in cost savings for operators in 2040.

The Government explained that their speed, accessibility and low operating costs, when compared with other forms of transport, are key driving factors.

“Drones can help overcome congestion in major cities and distance in regional and remote areas, to deliver parcels, food and medical supplies,” the Department said.

“Australia’s adoption of new technologies and the geographical spread of Australian cities could be a catalyst for rapid uptake of this technology.”

As the Government explained, electric vans are currently the most cost-efficient delivery method for ‘last leg’ parcel journeys from distribution centres to destination locations.

However, drones have been found to be cost competitive for express deliveries within 30 minutes from the order, with lower upfront costs relative to electric vans and comparative lower costs for the labour and maintenance of vehicle – as outlined in the Valdani Vicari and Associati, 2020 report.

The report also found a cost saving per drone delivery of around $5.60, with the potential for drone deliveries to take as little as seven minutes until delivery compared with an estimated average of 352 minutes per delivery for conventional electric van delivery.

The New South Wales Government’s Productivity Commission has also explored the possibility of increasing the use of drones in an effort to increase productivity.

The NSW Productivity Commission Research and Discussion Paper stated that current regulations make it costly and time consuming to operate drones beyond the line of visual sight and to fly drones at night – which creates a barrier for drone uptake in agriculture, forestry and fishing in situations where they could replace less productive and less safe ways of working.

However, the NSW Government said that simplifying the regulations for drone use in an agriculture setting could save the average farmer up to $11,000 in upfront regulatory and training fees, as well as other significant time and cost savings.

According to Deloitte’s report, the economic benefit of drones across Australia has been forecast to grow GDP by $14.5 billion by 2040, with $3.5 billion obtained from use in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

In addition, relaxing the regulatory environment for drones in agriculture could also unlock up to $500 million in net benefits for NSW by 2041.

Other benefits of implementing drones in these areas include reduces farm injuries and fatalities, as high risk farming activities such as equipment and livestock inspections can be substituted by drones; increased efficiency of routine farm work as drones can perform tasks that would otherwise be labour intensive, such as checking water troughs and locating livestock; and improving yield from enhanced crop monitoring and crop spraying efficiencies.

In 2020, the Federal Government recognised the potential that drones have in supporting various industries as well as the national economy.

The post Drones could complement the national freight task: Report appeared first on Trailer Magazine.

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