Drone Delivery Has Arrived
It was a normal Saturday running errands in the nearby town of Christiansburg, VA when my four year old looked out his car window and said, "Mom, what's that?" There was a black object in the sky and at first I was not sure what it was until I put two and two together that we were in Christiansburg, "Oh, that, that's a drone," I responded. No big deal.
Christiansburg is an ideal incubator for drone delivery. The demographics result in a mix of residents that will be eager and equally skeptical. If drones can find success in Christiansburg, and all the FAA regulations can be figured out, then drones can fly anywhere. The ideal testing ground is within the FAA five mile radius of an airport, albeit small, the airport sees a surprising amount of air traffic.
Three business have signed on to pilot the delivery mechanism, FedEx, Walgreens, and a local neighboring-city business, Sugar Magnolia. These three entities will provide a range of use case scenarios. FedEx is obviously the heavy weight in this scenario and should bring in a substantial amount of traffic. If I were a Christiansburg resident, I would be opting for FedEx delivery whenever possible for my chance to have a drone land at my door. Drugstores have their potential too. Wouldn't you rather have your allergy meds delivered to your door and be able to pop a couple before you head out the door in the morning?
Yet, Sugar Magnolia, provides the most interesting case study. It's one of the cuter shops in neighboring-Blacksburg. Situated along Main Street, it bring in a lot of traffic, primarily on summer days for its stellar ice cream selection. It is a newish business, less than 2 years old, but strong enough that it recently expanded to carry more speciality items, gifts, cards, and the best flower selection (outside of the Farmer's Market) in Blacksburg. So, what would Sugar Magnolia customers want from drone delivery? Well, my birthday is coming up and if someone wants to send me a card and fresh flowers via drone that might just be the coolest thing ever.