Gulden, Timothy R.
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The use of delivery drones, unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering small and light packages, has garnered interest in for the last-mile segment of the freight logistics community. The use of delivery drones may augment, or even replace the use of trucks for delivery, which can have impacts on energy consumption, congestion, and road network usage patterns. Researchers conducted a study to develop a simple simulation of the total energy-use impact in Minneapolis of shifting some package delivery stops, for deliveries weighing five pounds or less, from traditional delivery trucks to delivery drones. The reduced number of stops could allow for changes such as a smaller truck fleet delivering to fewer service areas. A geographic information system (GIS) analysis was used to compare truck versus delivery drone energy use. This preliminary study uses a limited data set derived from a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study of conventionally powered and hybrid delivery vans in Minneapolis.

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RAND Corporation
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The Energy Implications of Drones for Package Delivery: A Geographic Information System Comparison
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