Attack of the Drones

Like it or not, drones are going to be standard operating equipment for many businesses in the next twenty years. Once approval is met for self-driving vehicles how soon would it be for a rival for ride sharing services to appear? As with any new technology it will take time before people are willing to accept it.

The industry is poised for a boom, with drones being investigated to complete many different tasks. In the US, retailing giant Wal-Mart is testing out the use of drones for stock inventory control. The impact of this could do many things:

  • Job losses and creation
  • Possible lower prices
  • Increase productivity
  • Safer work environment
  • Higher skilled workforce

There are many positives and negatives, however if tests prove that it will not be beneficial to the company then it most likely will not proceed. But then it seems relatively unlikely that it won’t. When you look at the unmanned checkout populating the major retailers now, these are a drone of sorts – accept that the customer is doing the work; I wonder if some sort of discount should be applied when I scan my own items? The tests completed before these were brought into operation was, will the money we save on wages override the increase in theft (intentional or otherwise)?

When drones become an accepted part of society, the job sector that will have the highest attrition rate will be the transport industry. Being a delivery driver may become a thing of the past. The first to depart would be small parcel deliveries. Imagine this, letters are delivered by hand, our streets have been mapped and global positioning satellites are near pinpoint. It wouldn’t be that hard to take posties off their bikes and into a warehouse flying drones to deliver the mail. The jobs would still be there, up until the work becomes automated and a program takes over. If this all seems a bit far fetched – sorting of mail used to be done by hand, now a machine does most of the work.

I think it will be a few years away, when we see drones delivering the mail, sorting stock inventory or acting as cab drivers – for flying drones the noise would need to be sorted out. But if I could save $20 I know I’d be the first one to jump into the driver-less car, after all that is exactly how ride sharing services are crushing the taxi industry.

Title Image: Google Self Driving Car by Ben (2013)