Drones set to land 30% of express delivery market

Drone Delivery (L)

UAS solutions could eventually capture around 30 per cent of the express post/same-day delivery market, according to a new report from L.E.K Consulting.

Exact market share will depend on the configuration of distribution networks and the comparable cost of road-based delivery mechanisms, the report said.

Greater uptake can be expected where low-cost last-mile connection options can interface easily and cost-effectively with eVTOL deliveries.

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eVTOL passenger vehicles

The first commercial passenger flight of an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is likely to launch within the next three to five years with several manufacturers competing to be the first to launch.

According to report co-author and partner at L.E.K. Consulting, Natasha Santha, all the evidence suggests that commercial eVTOL aircraft launch is “just a matter of when”.

“Los Angeles, Paris, China, Singapore and Seoul are some of the most likely jurisdictions for the first launch of commercial passenger services, based on our analysis of the industry, but we are seeing interest in AAMs across the board, including in Australia,” said Santha.

In Australia, once eVTOL aircraft are certified, and necessary operator and manufacturing certifications are obtained, it will be possible to operate initial commercial flights under the existing regulatory construct. This undercuts the current perception that red tape would prevent eVTOLs from flying within urban and regional environments.

“There are prototypes already being tested in many cities around the world,” said co-report author George Woods. “The investment into the technology is well into the multiple billions”.

“Commercial proponents are well backed and have global ambitions,” said Santha. In 2020, Toyota led a USD 394 million investment into eVTOL manufacturer, Joby; Volocopter attracted a USD 113 million investment; and China-based EHang’s IPO valuation was USD 650 million. Furthermore, Santha outlined, there are at least 30 aircraft currently engaging in certification with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

“With that level of investment behind it, it’s only a matter of years before we see our first commercial passenger launch, and it may be even earlier for freight, as we have already seen in China,” said Santha. “AAM will enhance the transport ecosystem, offering point-to-point connections where surface-based options are congested, circuitous or do not exist, displacing taxi and ride share rather than mass surface-based public transport.”

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Joe Peskett

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