Americans Just Say ‘Yes’ To E-Commerce Drone Delivery

When contemplating a world in which packages could regularly be delivered by drones, most Americans expect it to happen sooner than later. And most say they’d like to see businesses be able to deliver by drone.

A new study from Chicago-based social marketing agency Walker Sands Communications reported that of those surveyed, 66 percent of Americans think that online purchases will be transported via drone within the next five years, VentureBeat reported.

The study, titled “Reinventing Retail: What Businesses Need to Know in 2015,” polled 1,400 Americans, and showed that most Americans believe Amazon and Google are close to capable when it comes to executing their drone delivery options. They just need the government’s backing. Even more than the two-thirds who expect to seen drones in the next five years, 80 percent of those surveyed said they’d be willing — and perhaps more inclined — to give their business to companies who chosen to use drone-based deliveries.

“Drone-delivered packages may be an even bigger push toward a future where the majority of purchases are made online across multiple product categories. Four in five consumers say drone delivery to their doorsteps within an hour would make them more likely to purchase from a retailer,” the study concluded. The report added that “rapid delivery by air is fertile ground for retailers like Amazon that plan to push the limits of fast delivery.”

The draft rules proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which were published on Sunday (Feb. 15), would require commercial drones to be operated in direct line-of-sight of operators, flying no higher than 500 feet and close enough that an operator can see the drone continuously with no visual aids beyond prescription glasses or contact lenses. That cuts out both autonomous drones and those operated using an onboard camera. Amazon has considered both those ideas for its proposed Prime Air drone delivery service for small packages.

Drones also wouldn’t be allowed to fly over people or at night, or to drop anything while in flight. Drones would also be limited to a top speed of 100 miles per hour and would require an FAA-certified operator who could only fly one drone at a time — but the operator wouldn’t have to be a trained aircraft pilot. While this survey indicates American consumers will be ready and waiting for their packages to come flying to them, the U.S. government have a different perspective. For now, Amazon’s plans have been grounded until the FAA says otherwise.


Exclusive PYMNTS Study: 

The Future Of Unattended Retail Report: Vending As The New Contextual Commerce, a PYMNTS and USA Technologies collaboration, details the findings from a survey of 2,325 U.S. consumers about their experiences with shopping via unattended retail channels and their interest in using them going forward.

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