One day, we imagine, drones will carry products right to consumers’ doorsteps. Retailers, supermarkets and restaurants will deploy squadrons of remotely controlled flying machines to deliver whatever people want whenever they want it.
At least that’s the popular lore. Unfortunately, the reality is different. For now, broad adoption of drone delivery is neither economical nor practical. Today’s commercial drones simply can’t carry anywhere near the weight of ground vehicles. They also are a lot more expensive to operate than trucks or trains. On top of that, air traffic controllers couldn’t manage them safely nor would the public tolerate them constantly buzzing their neighborhoods – even if they could be managed.
The future of drones is in the data not the products they can deliver.