Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Examining the Potential Impact of Drones on the Trucking Industry

Cyndi Brandt
Director of Sales Enablement

The widespread use of drone delivery services still seems like such a futuristic concept, but progress is being made every day, and at a rapid rate. According to an article written by the Washington Post, a number of companies—including heavy-hitting Google—have already stepped forward citing intent to implement drone delivery services by 2017. Following suit, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is enacting strict guidelines and regulations for usage. In fact, starting Dec. 21, drones or unmanned aircraft systems operating in the National Airspace system must be registered with the FAA.

As regulations are being set and logistics fine-tuned, and with the emerging technology promising imminent impact to the transportation industry, we thought we’d join the conversation. Here’s a little “food for thought” – questions we’re asking ourselves at Omnitracs that look to assess potential implications drone delivery could have on the trucking world:

  • How many of the major players will be leveraging drones for delivery? Amazon and Google are some of the frontrunners, but given the rapid adoption rate of drones, what’s stopping everyone else from getting market share?
  • What happens when drones are able to deliver straight to a consumer’s doorstep? Will expedited haulers like DHL or FedEx see a negative effect on their businesses? And if so, how will that cause their value proposition or services to shift?
  • If drones don’t end up as an accompaniment to traditional freight transport, what kind of pressure will that put on the trucking industry to evolve?
  • How will drone deliver play into the current driver shortage plaguing the industry?
  • What associations will be involved in regulation? Will there perhaps be a convergence of associations to determine what’s best for the transportation industry as a whole?

Though the actual impact of drones remains to be seen, these questions set the stage for what’s to come – a hovering and omnipresent reminder of the unavoidable impact emerging technologies will have on the future of trucking and transportation.  We look forward to seeing this story unfold, hopefully for the betterment of all parties involved!