Why now is the time you should talk to your architect or building designer!
The drone industry is booming. You may not own a drone yourself, but you will no doubt have seen some type of drone video doing the rounds on the internet. A bit of a laugh and perhaps a good present for next Christmas? Not quite!
Drones are being sold in record numbers across the world and are fast crossing the line from recreational status to serious mainstream and very valuable, commercial assets. In fact, the construction industry now leads commercial drone adoption, ahead of the mining and agricultural sectors. These industries are using drone technologies to collect real-time data, access on-site information and significantly improve safety performance*.
All this translates to the bottom line and can manifest into considerable cost savings. Real Estate Agents are also adopting drones and aerial footage in record numbers to showcase location, aspects and points of difference about particular properties for sale or under development.
But you don’t own a construction company and already own your property, so drones don’t matter to you, right? Well, in fact, the impact of drones on your own personal lifestyle and home is much closer than you think.
This week Wing, the drone delivery company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, launched its first public drone delivery service in Australia. Where, you ask?
The northern suburbs of Canberra are the first to enjoy a delivery service allowing access to local businesses to deliver their products in minutes.
Feel like a coffee? Have you run out of Panadol? Forgot to pick up some fresh bread or perhaps need a new box of golf balls for your Saturday morning tee-off? Businesses including Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez and Drummond Golf are amongst the first round of local businesses to take part in the service, on the back of an 18-month trial with over 3,000 deliveries.
The number of business signing up is expected to increase rapidly, as are the suburbs and homes approved to receive the goods via drone delivery. There are significant restrictions in place including times for delivery (between 7am and 8pm), flight routes and flying in close proximity to people. Customers in eligible homes must also undertake safety briefings with the drones.
The launch may very well be a world first but with many other players vying for a slice of this growth market, this is certainly just the beginning of a much broader commercial service offering to the public in the future. Wing predicts that drones could end up delivering as many as 1 in 4 takeaway orders in 2030.
The company is currently also rolling out a similar initiative in Helsinki, Finland. These cities are embracing this option as part of a broader aim to reduce traffic congestion and create a cleaner environment.
Where will it end, you ask? To provide broader context, the latest luxury apartment buildings under construction in Miami, Florida now incorporate towers with their own personal transport (think “Jetsons-style” flying cars) docks.
Companies such as Uber and Airbus are already testing these drones capable of transporting people from one 60 story building to another. While these apartments may well be in the super-rich price range (think USD$10M), the implications for the local Australian residential market are also very real.
Wing dispatches the deliveries from the second story of its depot in Canberra’s industrial suburb of Mitchell. Roller doors open and off the drone flies. But where will it land when it arrives at your place? Do you have space in the backyard? Great, but what about the dog? Will that lovely hot pizza box end up as a fun play target for Rufus? What if the weather is bad?
Thinking of having it land on your balcony or front porch? Is there enough space? What about larger deliveries? These are serious logistical questions and while they may seem a little fanciful at present, our prediction is that in 5 years’ time we will see a wave of renovating with drone deliveries in mind.
So, if you are currently thinking of adding extensions to your home or are in the throes of planning a new property, talk to your architect or building designer about how you could incorporate a safe, weatherproof space for drone deliveries into your design. Plan ahead – it won’t be too long before much of your online shopping will be able to be delivered to your home via drones.
So what can you be doing to prepare?
Start giving this some serious consideration bearing in mind:
• The size of the landing pad you are able to incorporate;
• The positioning of the pad eg rooftop, ground floor or backyard; and
• How to potentially protect against inclement weather, pets and prying eyes.
Finally, given that this is still very much an evolving space, with individual councils and regulators no doubt adding their own particular nuances to what will be considered a “complying delivery space”, challenge your designer to perhaps enable a flexible space that allows room for adaptations to comply with future restrictions and needs.
As with all things building, it is wise to plan for the future and create a home or property that reflects your evolving lifestyle and enables you to adopt the new “living essentials” as they evolve. You never know, perhaps we will be delivering our Build in Common Toolkits by drone in the not too distant future?