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Evaluating Drone Efficiency for E-commerce Distribution in the U.S.

The drone has been projected to be deployed to transport e-commerce goods. The Argonne National Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has developed new capabilities to assist industry leaders in identifying suitable drone delivery locations by comparing the energy consumption of uncrewed aerial vehicles with mainstream diesel and battery electric vehicles.

According to their findings, depending on wind conditions, a drone can consume as much energy as either electric vehicles or diesel trucks when transporting e-commerce goods. The models are based on Argonne’s estimate of regional energy consumption and direct delivery drone facility costs under various wind speed scenarios.

“While investing in drone delivery, the industry should consider the prospective energy costs,” said Taner Cokyasar, a consultant in Argonne’s Transportation and Power Systems section.

Cokyasar is a co-author of the Chicago metropolitan area drone study paper “Comparing regional energy consumption for direct drone and truck deliveries,” published in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Transportation Research Record Journal.

Researchers discovered that direct delivery drones used roughly the same energy as electric vehicles in the Chicago metropolitan region on an ordinary day. However, drones require 15% more energy than diesel trucks on a windy day.

When the wind speed approached less than 20 miles per hour, drones burnt less energy than diesel trucks. However, the wind speed only required to attain 10 miles per hour for drones to begin using more energy than electric vehicles. The Chicago study analysed extreme circumstances in which drones would confront the wind on their way to customers and back.

Researchers point out that drone readiness is determined by balancing a variety of monetary, environmental, and energy aspects. For efficiency, drones can be released from a truck’s roof for last-mile delivery. It might work with enhanced vehicle routing algorithms that evaluate wind influence to locate appropriate drone release spots.

“This is great research, and we need more of it to help us identify how drones utilise energy and how to use them.,” says the researcher. The DOE Vehicle Technologies Office financed Argonne’s research through the Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation Mobility Laboratory Consortium, an Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Programme effort. The researchers will encourage and assist corporations in determining where and how to deploy delivery drones based on uncertain client demand, weather changes, and technological advancement.

Aside from delivering goods, Thailand is utilised drones for a new Thailand smart farm project in Pathum Thani Province’s Pin Fah Farm region. Pinfah Farm is a smart-farm concept in Pathum Thani Province offered for agricultural eco-tourism. They use drones to spray pharmaceuticals, fertiliser, and other chemicals in farmlands to save money and enhance farmer health.

Smart agriculture is a sophisticated idea that is gaining traction around the world. It boosts output, addresses farm-related issues such as food shortages, and links and intelligence farms. Smart agriculture systems enabled by the Internet of Things include precision farming, variable rate technologies, smart irrigation, and smart greenhouses (IoT).

Meanwhile, India has used drones in various ways, including the SWAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) Scheme, which surveys land and houses using drones. The plan gives citizens in remote places the right to document their residential properties to use them for economic purposes.

Drones are also being utilised in agriculture as part of the Kisan Drone Yatra project to spray pesticides and nano fertilisers. Around 100 Kisan drones have been dispatched to spray pesticides in villages nationwide. Drone technology could add $3 billion to the agriculture sector by 2023, benefiting 100 million farmers.


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