Globalegrow, a global, cross-border online clothing retailer, has invested in research that will build a safe, fast and cost effective drone delivery system, in a move they hope will improve the customer shopping experience.
In a recent report, drone delivery is likely to disrupt traditional package delivery, and expected to bring major change to the world of e-commerce within the next five years. To answer this future challenge, Chinese retailer Globalegrow intends to invest $150,000 in the coming year in a drone delivery research project. Their major motivation is to help with faster, safer and more economical logistics.
Many companies are presently looking at how drones can deliver their products – from pizza, electronic goods, clothing and even heart defibrillators to those who’ve just had a heart attack on a golf course.
It’s expected that the price consumers will pay for drone delivery will be much lower than traditional road deliveries. By how much, we don’t know, but as we’ve seen in the past, when technology is introduced to a service or product, prices usually start to fall steeply.
Drones typically use electric motors, so they will also be more environmentally friendly, resulting in fewer trucks on the road.
Globalegrow reckons that delivery times for their clothing will drop by 25% if their research project works out. A major challenge they face is around international logistics. Drone delivery, in combination with international warehouse management, will require a customized approach that will re-write rules on how things are delivered. Customs, flight paths and security are all things to be taken seriously.
For a start, Globalegrow has focused on safety, testing in different environments, tracking, flight range, battery life and regulatory support for the first phase of their research. Once the project “takes off” the company will also need to look at their ability to handle large volumes.
Delivery companies have never needed roboticists and aeronautical engineers before, but Globalegrow intends hiring these experts to ensure a great end-product and user experience. The aim of the research is to create a self-flying drone that is loaded with sensors that would help track the package, guide touchdown and enable a tether cable to retract and detach the goods. Added safety measures include a way to alert nearby pedestrians that something might be landing on your head.