Study suggests last-mile drone delivery could lower carbon footprint

There’s always been talk about how drones could improve the emissions situation produced by our truck-based delivery infrastructure. But you have to look into these things. A new study from University of Washington researchers indicates that drone delivery may indeed lead to a lower carbon footprint — if it’s done properly.

“I was amazed at how energy-efficient drones are in some contexts,” said Anne Goodchild, who led the research, in a UW news release. “Trucks compete better on heavier loads, but for really light packages, drones are awesome.”

Her study examined the theoretical energy costs of a number of delivery scenarios in the Los Angeles area. Drones, as they are today, can only carry one item at a time, but they can fly over traffic in efficient straight lines….

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