Drone Energy Use

I have literally not received this question once so, I didn’t feel comfortable putting this in my FAQ section but I did want to address the energy usage of drones in recreational use. Of course, there has been much said and written about the energy use of drones in package delivery proposals, like those put forth by Amazon.

The Rand Corporation found, in researching just this, that shifting 20% of delivery stops from trucks to drones would require 13 fewer truck routes, 468 fewer truck miles, and 46.8 fewer gallons of diesel fuel. Ultimately, this results in a savings of 26.4 gallons of diesel – about 5%. This may be a feasible process change for light items, but for heavier items trucks are still preferable. That said, removing all those small but heavily packaged items from the trucks frees up more space for larger heavier items. With this caveat, shifting deliveries from trucks to drones might have positive impacts on energy-usage, but this hasn’t yet taken into consideration secondary considerations like noise abatement, airspace restriction, and public acceptance of the change.

My non-expert opinion: traffic in the skies is preferable to traffic on the ground UNLESS we as a nation can finally make a commitment to improving public transit across the country so that road congestion is more specific for trucking. The more people we have on trains and busses, the fewer single-occupancy vehicles on the road, and the less of the need for drone delivery systems.

It all makes perfect sense to me! That said, I only JUST started reading and learning about energy efficiency.


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