Despite the obvious potential, autonomous delivery services with commercial drones take time to reach the mainstream.
The issue is mainly normative; the technology has been more or less ready for years, but the authorities are wary (not entirely wrong) of the idea of releasing swarms of UAVs on populated areas. In any case, the experiments continue, and Italy is doing a good part, even with heavy loads.
A few weeks ago in Venice, drones started delivering drugs to islands not served by pharmacies (I talked about it here). Last week, however, the Italian company Flying Basket organized its first heavy-load urban transport flight with a couple of large deliveries in Turin.
Heavy loads, light roads
In collaboration with Leonardo e Poste Italiane, Flying Basket sent (with round trip) two of its robust FB3 drones, each carrying around 26 kg of cargo, from the postal coordination center to a point about 4 kilometers away. Good, and even promising when you consider that the payload is just a quarter of the approximately 100kg each of these drones can carry.
Before you get the chills at the idea of a small fridge falling on your head, let me tell you two: first, the drones flew over the river Stura and only for a very short time covered inhabited areas. Second, obviously the mission was authorized by ENAC, everything under control.
Anyway, before heavy loads we will see these contraptions deliver smaller things (in Helsinki for example they are already carrying lunch and coffee). The feeling is that when these services, both for heavy and light loads, are given the green light on a large scale, these delivery methods will have an instant and highly transformative impact.