Drones in Supply Chain

Ever since Jeff Bezos revealed plans for Amazon Prime Air, back in 2013, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the possibility of using drones for deliveries. For this episode of LokadTV, we are joined by Emmanuel de Maistre to discuss the numerous questions of safety, efficiency and costs and whether drone supply is actually a viable possibility for the supply chains of tomorrow.

Emmanuel witnessed the birth of the commercial drone industry from its very beginning and has been in the drone business for seven years, which is quite a long time for the industry. He founded his own French drone company called “Redbird” in 2012. Redbird was then acquired five years after its creation by the American company Airware. Airware was in turn acquired by Delair two years later, where Emmanuel now works.

Delair is a leading provider of drone-based solutions that enable enterprises to monitor and digitize their physical assets from the sky and allows companies to turn the collected data into valuable business insights.

Even if drones are becoming smaller, cheaper and more efficient, they have not yet become a commercial reality for everyday package deliveries. However, there are very interesting use cases being developed for drone delivery in remote areas, for industries such as mining.

But having said that, approximately 3 billion USD have been invested over the last decade into the drone industry, yet very few drone companies make significant revenue, with most companies being of small, start-up size and on the cusp of being profitable. The exception is of course the Chinese giant DJI.

To wrap this episode up, we go into more detail about the environmental benefits of increased drone use, the social acceptance that is also required if we are to use drones for more varied tasks, and the possible new uses for drones in the near future - including the idea that drones will carry people one day. This is something that Airbus, Boeing, Uber and various other companies are already looking into.

Timestamps

00:08 Introduction

00:30 Emmanuel, perhaps you could start by telling us a little more about your background and Delair?

01:20 What is your view on the industry?

04:52 What are they actually used for?

06:36 Are there any use cases that are under exploited, which could be of interest for the future?

09:04 With regards to deliveries, if drones were to become a viable prospect for our supply chains, how would that affect us in the future?

11:47 What about safety?

14:37 From an economic perspective, is it better to use a drone rather that a vehicle with one driver?

17:25 Is there an environmental benefit for using drones?

19:08 Can you really envisage a day when we will be used to have drones flying over our heads?

21:30 Do you agree with that? What is next in the world of drones?