Drone transportation – a reality of the future?

Drones in the news

In the United States, a three-year effort has begun to determine whether it would be safe to deliver medical supplies using drones.

In December 2018, new rules for owning and flying drones in India come into effect.

An assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro using explosives strapped to drones was thwarted in early August 2018.

A Dublin firm has begun a five-year contract to use drones to help survey Ireland’s motorway system.

The above articles are just a few of those posted during August 2018 that are related to drones. The sky’s the limit for drones. So, what does the future hold?

Drones for deliveries and transportation

Duncan Walker is the managing director of UK company, Skyports. He is so convinced that drones will become commonplace for deliveries and transportation that his business is in the process of buying London rooftops for a network of drone ports.

drone transportation

Walker said these drone ports, known as ‘vertiports’, will become standard in buildings once regulatory barriers to urban drone flights have been cleared.

To date the startup company has already bought the rights to 15 London rooftops. Over the next 18 months, Walker wants to increase the number of rooftops in their portfolio to 80-100.

Drone transportation infrastructure around the world

Walker said Switzerland, Finland, Dubai and China, followed by the USA, are ahead of the UK in developing an infrastructure for drone transportation.

“Other places that have got simpler airspace to deal with are a little further ahead of the game,” he said. “There’s lots of activity in Finland and Switzerland is particularly progressive – they want to be the leaders of this technology.”

“China is managing huge numbers of drones in the air already,” he added. “Dubai is right at the forefront, with drones expected to be carrying passengers by 2020. And the west coast of the US, where a lot of technological development is happening, is beginning to come on stream with it.”

Drone deliveries in London “by 2021”

Confident that regulatory hurdles will be quickly overcome, Walker said:

“We’ve got very complicated airspace in the UK, particularly in London”.

“We’ve got four or five airports around us, we’ve got quite a densely-used airspace and we’ve also got a historic city beneath us.”

“So the aviation authority, who we are engaging with on a monthly basis, is quite cautious. But they’ve got an entire drone team and they recognise it’s coming,” Walker concluded.

A reality or just pie in the sky?

Understandably there are doubts about whether or not Walker’s belief that drone transportation will become a reality but there are some incredible uses for drones that indicate it could just be a matter of time.

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