A couple weeks back, we talked about how much Americans would be willing to pay for drone delivery (spoiler: 52% said they wouldn’t pay extra for drone vs. standard delivery, according to a survey conducted on behalf of online shopping customer Smarty. But it turns out, Americans have a number of other concerns beyond just cost. A fresh, new study has uncovered some of the other top concerns Americans have with drone delivery.
Auterion, an open source drone software company, released its 2022 “Consumer Attitudes on Drone Delivery” report, which polled more than 1,000 consumers across the U.S. around their attitudes on drone delivery.
And while Auterion’s survey certainly asked respondents about cost, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the survey was the other reasons Americans give as to why they are dubious of drones. The survey found that 58% of Americans favor the idea of drone deliveries. But even still, there are many concerns Americans have around the viability of drones. They are (sorted from most to least concerning):
- The drone will break down and they won’t get their items (43%).
- That the drone will deliver my items to the wrong address (39%).
- If something happens to the drone, I won’t get a refund (38%).
- That my items will get ruined by the travel (37%).
- That my items will be left unattended making stealing easier for porch bandits (35%).
- That the sky will be cluttered with ugly/noisy technology (32%).
- Distress about not having human interaction with their delivery person (19%).
The survey was commissioned by Auterion from Los Angeles-based market research firm Propeller Insights of 1,022 adults, distributed across all age groups, genders and parts of the country. This survey was conducted in May of 2022.
The survey results indicate that Americans don’t exactly trust the tech. 43% of respondents feel like the drone could break down entirely. 39% don’t think the drones are smart enough and might accidentally deliver it to the wrong address.
Compare those concerns that have come from the general public with the concerns from those within the drone industry, which have more to do with regulation and coordination of drone flights. Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights are top of mind right now, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s BVLOS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) final report, which published in March 2022, is setting the stage for how drones can interact with each other, even if the operator’s are no where near each other or the drones.
And even though experts within the industry generally agree that the tech is there — it is regulation that still needs to be nailed down — drone companies do continue to iterate and improve their drone tech.
One notable example as of late is a new Detection and Avoidance (DAA) system from California-based drone delivery company Zipline. Unlike the visual sensor-based obstacle avoidance found on most other drones, Zipline’s uses onboard acoustic-based technology, where the company has placed a series of small, lightweight acoustic microphones and onboard processors on its drones. Zipline says its DAA tech make its drones capable of navigating airspace and providing 360-degree awareness with a range up to 2,000 meters.
But despite any concerns or challenges around drone delivery, most Americans are ready for it. 64% o Americans say they see drones as becoming an option for home delivery, with 32% thinking it’s possible now or within the next 1 to 2 years.
And nearly half of Americans (47%) said they would make a purchase from a specific retailer due to the option of a drone delivery program, according to Auterion’s sale. No wonder businesses like Walmart are pushing so hard to roll out there own drone delivery operations.