Assumptions on parcel delivery drones

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Drone assumptions

1) The maximum weight of a package will be around 5lbs / 2.5 kg, which is a little less than 10% of its own weight. This is based on the citation of Amazon, stating that the delivery drones will be able to carry up to 5 pounds. Amazon also states that the majorty of sold articles weigh less than five pounds. [1]

2) The maximum distance a delivery drone can cover is assumed to be 32 km on full battery, resulting in a flying radius of 16 km since it still has to be able to return to its deployment point. This assumption is based on research in scientific articles in which most articles proposes maximum distances between 16 – 23 km (10-15 miles) on full battery. Since 16 km appeared most the times and it is the minimum distance it can cover and therefor has the smallest chance of creating false information, we chose 16 km as our maximum radius. [2][3][4]

3) The maximum speed a fully loaded delivery drone can reach is up to 80 km/h. This is based on the maximum speed a delivery drone from amazon can reach within its battery capacity. However, to be able to use the speed within the research, it was chosen to take 60 km/h as delivery speed, since it can’t fly at maximum speed on average. [5][6]

4) The charging time of the battery is expected to be about 30 min. This charging time is used for wireless charging pads and for indoor charging stations, which are seen as one in the project. This pad deliver about 20Ah. With a battery use of 8000 - 9000 mAh this results into half an hour of charging time. [7][8]

5) It is possible for the drones to use recharge pads placed on frequent urban objects like lanterns or chimes of houses [9]

6) Each drone will cost about €3500 ($4000). According to our research an average cost for an autonomous delivery drone will be around $3000 - $5000. Taking it half way ends up at $4000, equal to €3500. [10][11]

7) It is assumed that a drone takes about 30 seconds to descend to ground level and another 30 seconds to fly up into the permitted flying height.

8) It is assumed that a drone takes about 90 seconds to enter a distribution centre, pick up a parcel and descends again towards its location.

9) Although there are areas drones are not allowed to fly (no-flight-zones), it is assumed such area's are not encountered.

10) Drones will be able to work 24 hours a day, only staying idle to recharge or to wait for an order.

Delivery assumptions

1) To get an understanding of how many deliveries are done, an estimation has to be made on the number of packages delivered a day. This number is assumed to be around 172.000 packages a day. The amount of packages a company like processes is approximately 200.000 orders a day [12]. However, this includes packages of all sizes. According to Amazon, 86% of the orders are packages under 2.5 kg [13].

2) For the service of parcel delivery by drone, the estimated costs are approximately €1.00 per delivery [14]

3) In the distribution centre, the entire process of organizing the parcels from the shelves to the drone will be automated, so no employees are needed. This can be applied for battery changing as well.