Analysis conducted by the Mayor’s office concluded the two biggest causes of road congestion in London are e-commerce deliveries and private hire vehicles. The UK parcel delivery market is growing at a significant rate. In 2018, parcel volumes increased by 11%, reaching a total of 2.4 billion items (Ofcom 2018). This continued growth will put tremendous pressure on our cities and their road infrastructure as well as the speed, efficiency, flexibility and financial viability of the traditional delivery process. Drones can provide an additional delivery channel to improve delivery efficiency and contribute to reducing city road congestion.
Consumer expectations are high and continue to rise. A 2016 report by McKinsey found that 25% of consumers would choose priority delivery (same day or instant) if it were available at low prices – a significant opportunity when you consider that priority delivery only comprises 1% of actual volumes today. In response to this and the ever more congested road networks, logistics operators around the world are beginning to incorporate drones into their delivery networks, targeting the part of the delivery journey where there is most friction, the last mile.
Skyports are creating the physical landing infrastructure for these cargo carrying drones in urban environments which will provide a managed interface between the aerial logistics operators, and end customers. These landing areas, known as Vertiports, can be seamlessly integrated into existing city infrastructure.
Skyports are working with multiple landlords and developers across London to incorporate this infrastructure into existing and new schemes – one of which being Almacantar’s new residential scheme at Lyons Place, recently reported on by Deezen. For Almacantar and other landlords including this delivery capability future proofs their development, improves the connectivity of the property and provides an additional service offering for tenants at no additional cost.
Cargo drone operations have already commenced in the US, Singapore, China and Finland for a wide range of flight applications including post, medical, e-commerce and logistics.
In London, city authorities, transport agencies and aviation authorities have an opportunity to engage with stakeholders in the cargo drone industry. City Planners, vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and communities need to collaborate to enable drone adoption in a way that is acceptable to all and maximises the benefit that a city can derive from this new form of transportation.
Please get in touch through the contact form on our website if you wish to discuss any sites you think would be suitable for a cargo or passenger vertiport.
Sources; Mckinsey & Company (2016), How customer demands are reshaping last-mile delivery