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Use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) for Delivery

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Proposal
  • Background information
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Research questions
  • Methodology
  • Audience
  • Practical applications
    • Operability
    • Emergency Scenarios
    • Flexibility
  • Economics
    • Viability
    • Feasibility
  • Restrictions and regulations
    • Aviation laws
    • Challenges
  • Flight safety
    • Safety of individuals
    • Safety of the drones
  • Conclusion
    • Summary and interpretation of findings
    • Recommendations
  • References


Delivery companies have depended for a long time on individuals as their only means of delivering the various letters and parcels to the clients, mainly overlooking the possibilities that exist for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) that have been in existence since the early twentieth century. Consequently, this report aims to look at the possibility of making use of drones as a means of parcel delivery by the general feasibility of adopting drone technology by the delivery companies. While there exists literature that looks into the various possible uses for UAV, none has focused on the possibility of using drones, particularly for the delivery of parcels and letters. Therefore, this research and evaluates the following: practicality, economics, restrictions and regulations, and safety. Reports use secondary research, such as books, journals, research articles, and any other relevant academic papers. As such, the study aims to reach out to the various delivery companies with a more detailed and concise report on the feasibility of using UAVs for delivery.


I propose a study that looks into the consequences and the possibility of adopting this technology in the delivery of parcels soon.

Literature Review

Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAV) were introduced in the early twentieth century and commonly used in the Second World War. Associating drones with destructive weapons is a concept that proves hard to shake among government institution s and members of the public. The main difference between these drones and cruise missiles, which are also remotely controlled, is the fact that drones can be reused and that they can lift lethal or not payloads. Their significance lies in the expense of manufacturing a full-scale aircraft being miniaturized. Inability to cost the lives of the pilots in the event of an accident and a host of electronic masquerades which render them invincible in war zones (Boon & Lovelace 2014).

The use of UAVs is mostly attributed to its capability to reach places that otherwise may prove dangerous or significantly expensive to achieve. From that perspective, Amazon, as the main leading company in the war to legalize the use of drones for commercial purposes, believes that the Federal Administration will grant regulations for the use of drones. Equally important to note is the current use of drones is still evidenced in a variety of civil aviation issues. The ongoing everyday use of drones includes aerial surveying of crops, in film making to enhance in acrobatic aerial footage, during the search as well as rescue operations and while counting wildlife. Other uses include inspecting power lines using the drones to deliver medical supplies to inaccessible areas is also evidenced. Amazon likewise bases its argument on seeking civil authorization of the use of drones on the concept of commercial purposes. The organization discounts any meaning behind the use of drones to survey people. The issue of surveillance of the U.S citizens through the use of the drones is a significant concern that makes the FAA delay in approving the use of drones for commercial purposes. Amazon argues that the current drone is not designed for such purposes with the goal of the drones aimed at benefiting the customers (Huerta, 2014).

Various computerized technology has been applied in an attempt to make automatic systems that handle letters and parcels. These are used mainly for sorting large letters and packets. Manual transport is used in delivery, which involves human labor. Automation of the process through the use of drones within the delivery system is a potential area of technology infusion.

By promoting the adoption of technology, drone-based automation of services will reduce the workforce and maintain a high level of productivity that can lead to time reduction. The drones used in the delivery system are the decline of the number of letter carriers, and costs are supposed to increase organizational profits, hours of work, and the accuracy of the delivery process. That aspect is what inspires the extensive research into the delivery process that uses the UAVs that are, in most cases, referred to as drones. For Amazon, as the dominant player in the aim to ensure authorization of the use of drones, they believe that introduction of drones will only improve the quality of the delivery system as opposed to threatening other mail delivery systems (Wright, 2014). However, the use of drones for commercial purposes, although realizable, is yet to be achieved. Current progress from the FAA and drone manufacturers, however, indicates a possibility that the use of drones will start soon.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Below are some images of the unmanned aerial vehicles carrying parcels

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Analysis


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Analysis


Research Questions

More specifically, this research will answer the following questions:

  • Practical Applications – Under which circumstance or physical situation is it viable to use drones in the delivery of parcels?
  • Economics – Is using this level of technology economically feasible or viable in the long run under the same circumstance described above?
  • Restrictions and Regulations – What are the prevailing legal conditions that govern the flying of drones for civilian commercial applications in the delivery of parcels?
  • Flight Safety – Are there any threats that this system could pose to the safety and security of members of the public in regions where they are applied?


The method will involve a secondary research technique. The resources that will be used to conduct the research include books, journals, research articles, and papers available on the internet portal.


The audience of this research is companies that operate parcel delivery services like the Amazon, the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) groups. The information that it will provide is crucial to understanding the implications of drone technology in civilian commercial use. This could pave the way for the adoption of the technology shortly.

Practical Applications 

The practical operations refer to the real operation activity of the drones that touch on various aspects, among them operability, emergencies, and flexibility. The app focuses on the best way to utilize the drones and possible benefits derived from their use that other forms of parcel delivery may fail to meet in a timely and efficient manner.


The issue regarding the use of drones has been evidenced for over the past a half-decade with various regulatory agencies assessing the application of drones in parcel delivery. In the U.S., for example, the Federal Administration’s assessment of the deployment of the best aviation regulatory of the drones is yet to achieve its objectives (Orsini, 2013). Despite the Congress enacting legislation in 2012 that directed the F.A.A. to provide the rules that will guard small civilian drones, the milestone is far from achievement. It is attributed to the difference arising between the civilian drones and human-crewed aircraft. It is possible to purchase the majority of the small drones with just a few hundred dollars with their design made in a manner that helps them hover relatively closer to the ground where they maintain a distance with space where conventional planes, as well as helicopters, fly. Intending to achieve their goals, Amazon is submitting a petition that seeks for exemption about section 333 of FAAA Modernization Act 2012 that will help in allowing outdoor research and development tests for Prime Air within the U.S. The specific parts that Amazon seeks a waiver is found in 14 C.F.R. concerning experimental certificates, marks view along with manual, marking and civil aircraft flight placard requirements (Huerta, 2014). The certifications needed are also a significant consideration of the exemptions Amazon wishes to get to enhance practical operability.

Emergency Scenarios

Considering that drones take about thirty minutes to deliver parcels, there are some best scenarios in which they prove better in use while taking into account a variety of physical situations and circumstances (Huerta, 2014). Considering the challenges affecting the world is now the best time to use drones. The Ebola problem says us about the need to use drones to transport packages as some of Africa ‘s towns are placed under quarantine as a result of the disease threat. Welcoming the use of drones as medical supplies for food delivery as wee will prove a lot of relief for residents in some of these cities in Africa where quarantine is in place (Orblu, 2013). The drones’ purpose, assuming they can get disinfection between journeys, will be beneficial. Consequently, the war against Ebola will prove feasible using drones.


Consequently, better use can be made of drones for parcel deliveries in towns and cities where traffic congestion is an issue, as they will escape the challenge of traffic jams and ensure delivery within a shorter period. Once again, where road transport challenges are illustrated, the use of air transport makes parcel delivery easier as the complications with road transport is minimized (Nicas and Bensinger, 2015). Therefore, the practical application of drones in parcel delivery is evidenced in areas where the process proves more beneficial than all the other forms of transport in terms of time and efficiency.


The economics of the practical applications of the drones focuses on the feasibility and viability of their use over the long run, considering the same practical applications. The economic aspect of the use of drones will borrow significantly on their ability to make deliveries more efficient and cost-effectively than the existing modes of transport (Wright, 2014).


The actual means of transport comprise of freight aircraft as well as delivery vans that must include individuals tasked with various roles during the transport process. Concerning traffic in confined areas, the viability of the use of drones is also evidenced in the long run as the challenges affecting the world now may reoccur or other new problems may occur in the future, as evidenced by the current Ebola issue. Consequently, there is the issue of transport in congested towns with the use of drones, in the long run, proving viable since the level of cities and city congestion continues to increase over time (Infosec, 2015). Although planners of towns and cities tend to employ new approaches to reduce traffic congestion every time, the increase in the human population in cities often leads to increased bottlenecks limiting active transports. The use of drones in parcel delivery proves viable in the long run and serving as the best solution to avoid traffic jams, especially where the parcels are required urgently.


Another economic benefit resulting from the use of drones relates to the less developed areas where transport systems are poorly developed. Their fields are characterized by sparse populations serving as an indication that parcels delivered through any form of delivery are few (Kerr, 2014). Although there is a possibility of such areas achieving development in the future, the possibility of requiring other means of delivery with the existence of drones is minimal. Drones, therefore, not only fit effectively in the practical applications over the long run but also concerning time-sensitivity.

Restrictions and Regulations

Restrictions serve as limiting factors towards achieving the goal of uncrewed aerial vehicles, while rules must be met to act within the laws of a nation effectively. There are a variety of regulations governing the use of uncrewed aerial vehicles in the U.S. the use of unmanned aerial systems is referred to as “Drone journalism (U.N.C., 2015).

Aviation Laws

While the use of drones in parcel delivery seems achievable, consideration of some of the restrictions and regulations that hinder the process is essential. In some countries like the Arabs, the process is on the right track and nearly achieving its goals with the regulatory authorities allowing companies to carry out project tests. China is equally on the verge of allowing drones to be used when delivering parcels with tests already underway. While U.S. firms serve as significant leaders in the technology, the companies face one of the most critical hurdles in relation t using the airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration is mandated with regulating and monitoring the use of the sky and fails to permit the commercial use of drones in the U.S. airspace (Orsini, 2013). Despite taking slow moves in the process of exploring the myriad factors affecting civilians drone use that relates to issues like certification as well as air traffic congestion while incorporating both private and public groups. The efforts are evidenced through actions like the 2013 announcement of six site test operations with test flights taking more in more states (U.N.C., 2015).


Despite Congress ordering the F.A.A. to present a roadmap that will integrate drones by 2015, the roadmap is yet to be achieved. The most surprising issue relating to the failure of F.A.A. to quickly legalize the commercial use of drones is mostly attributed to privacy concerns and the possibility of the use of drones in the U.S. airspace in spying on U.S. citizens. Therefore, the failure to legalize the use of drones in the U.S. is far more from what significant parts of the world attribute to the gadget reputation as a killing machine (Ishaq, 2012). A report from the American Civil Liberties Union indicates that legislation is already passed in eight states against the use of commercial drones concerning surveillance data collection. Although Amazon Prime Air drones, as well as other companies, indicate that their reasons behind manufacturing the drones are purely based on commercial purposes, the F.A.A. is no doubting the possibility of using the drones on surveying on people (Heatha, 2013). It is, however, essential to consider the proposed rules of F.A.A. as they possess both opportunities and challenges. F.A.A. suggested rules allow all drones to fall below fifty-five pounds with the maximum speed required to reach 100 mph while at the same time ensuring a flight attitude of a maximum of 500 feet from the ground (Lee, 2015). Consequently, the proposed rules prohibit drone operations at night, with each operator prohibited from controlling more than one draft at a go. The states possess the capability of benefiting any company that will adhere to the essential criteria with companies like Amazon standing to lose as they expected to deliver drones that make delivery within thirty minutes.

Flight Safety

There is a need to test the safety of every new technological development as it impacts the environment and the individuals, structure, and everything else within that environment. For the uncrewed aerial vehicles, the safety concerns borrow from the safety conditions of the cars. On the impact, they possess to structures and people within the area of operation.

Safety of Individuals

The security of every transport system sis examined to assess any dangers it may present to the members of the public along where the transport means is applied. The Prime Air team equally emphasizes the safety measure citing that safety ranks as one of the top priority citing that the air vehicles building will have multiple redundancies as well as a design that meets commercial aviation standards (Kerr, 2014). The security concerns raised relate to the fact that as opposed to the military drones that surveys conduct overhead surveys in different areas of the world, the commercial drones fly at low levels closer to the ground, diving small enough while hovering and delivering the package. The safety concern is attributed to the possibility of the drones coming into contact with the human flesh and the possible damage it may cause (Lavars, 2015). The connection will mostly result in areas where deliveries are made in highly populated areas, with buildings serving as distracters and collisions a possibility. The companies concerned with the process of making drafts, however, dispute the issue of unavailability of safety with Huerta (2014), the office administrator of Amazon serving as an extreme example where he asserts the aim behind the organization’s project is for the benefit of customers.

Safety of the Drones

Another security concern relates to the possibility of the delivery drones exploding or running into things. The G.P.S. guarding the unmanned drones is not-always reliable with the metal-bladed propellers as well as batteries that may be prone to combustion. The possibility of using drones in many urban areas or in areas where there exist flight paths for commercial planes. A former continental Pilot said that it is impossible to see the drones until they hit something since they operate at speed. In areas with high congestion, visibility is challenging (Heatha, 2013). The issue of safety of the people within the drone’s area of operation is something of great concern with even Amazon acknowledging that sending hundreds of drones into the air may prove quite challenging. The issue of surveillance is also another safety concern that hinders the commercial use of drones.


Summary and Interpretation of Findings

There is a possibility of adopting the technology of using crewless vehicles for parcel delivery soon. The opportunity is attributed to the significant benefits resulting from the use of technology in parcel delivery. Much of the benefits are evidenced through employing the technology to handle practical issues with the Ebola challenge serving as one of the significant beneficial factors that may prompt the use of the new technology (Lavars, 2015). Consequently, the need for quick delivery in places where road delivery takes longer serves as a driver towards enhancing the use of drones both in developed and non-developed areas. The feasibility and viability of using the drones serve as a significant contributing factor towards using the technology in the long run, with cost also a consideration. However, despite the significant benefits attributed to the use of crewless air vehicles, they must comply with the regulations before they embark on the industrial process. The failure of F.A.A. to allow drones the right to use the airspace serves as a hindrance towards delivering parcels with crewless vehicles. The issue of safety of the people within the unmanned air vehicles areas of operation is also a major stumbling block towards the adoption of the technology.


To ensure that the technology comes into use, F.A.A. needs to review its restrictions and regulations through applying the right technology that will curb issues relating to surveillance (Rule, 2014). Consequently, control of direction and the number of drones plying a specific route at a particular time is essential to avoid collisions. Therefore, despite the benefits attributed to the use of drones for commercial purposes, there exist a variety of challenges that require sufficient consideration before authorizing the commercial use of crewless delivery vehicles into the air.

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