8 AUG 2023
Authored by AJE
Drone delivery will be an integrated part of the logistics industry in the coming years. We are going to see them buzzing over our heads in urban environments. In this article, we are evaluating the pros and cons of winch delivery vs. land & drop.
In general, there are ultimately five different drone (cargo) delivery methods for mid/last-mile logistics carrying a maximum payload of 10kg: 1- winch, 2- stationary container (attached to the drone), 3- land & drop, 4- parachute, 5- CTOL cargo delivery on the airstrip.
Each of these delivery methods has its own (dis)advantages, decision to choose one of the methods over another is ultimately depended on various factors such as:
Cargo destination, i.e., urban, rural, offshore, etc.
Size, shape, and fragility of the cargo
Deliver mode, Vertical/horizontal delivery
Distance/battery range, and the specific requirements of the delivery service.
Winch Delivery - Currently, most of the drone delivery companies are using the winch delivery method, which involves a vertical drop. For example, companies like Amazon, DroneUp, Flytrex, Freespace Operation, Manna Drone Delivery, Rigitech, Wing, Zing Drone Delivery, Zipline etc. Companies like A2Z Drone Delivery and Watts Innovation are working on winch delivery systems for commercial applications, while companies like Valqari have developed cutting-edge precision last-inch drone dispatch/delivery drone station. Valqari's station is drone agnostic and can work with mixed fleet, or multi-delivery method networks. On the other hand the Singaporean company AirGo Design has developed and certified (dangerous goods) standardized and reusable/recyclable shipping containers for the drone delivery industry.
Land & Drop Delivery – this method has been mostly experimentally applied. The land & drop delivery method could be a viable option if the drones are able to take off and land autonomously without remote piloting.
To conclude, based on these factors, if payload size, precision, and safety are crucial, a winch delivery method might be more suitable. On the other hand, if simplicity, efficiency for short distances, and package suitability for drops are priorities, the land and drop delivery method would work best. Ultimately, companies can choose a delivery method based on their specific needs and the requirements of their target customers.