Applications of drones in warehouse operations
Drones have shown high potential in the logistics industry. It has been speculated that this market will grow by $29 billion by 2027 with an annual growth rate of almost 20%. Drones have mainly found applications in warehousing operations. Recent technological advances in drones such as visual-based navigation and sensors enable indoor applications of drones. In addition to the advancement of drone technology, the main reason is that the scale of warehouses is increasing due to the growth of global eCommerce. For instance, drones can be used for automated inventory checks and intralogistics. Using drones for such applications can help warehouse managers to remove tedious and dangerous tasks.
This white paper reports 12 identified use cases of indoor drone applications in warehouses. We classify three different application areas: inventory management, indoor intra-logistics, and inspection & surveillance. The analysis indicates that using drones for inventory management applications has the highest potential in warehouses. Indoor intra-logistics is not yet entirely feasible due to current technological limitations in power supply and payload. Drones can potentially be used for inspection and surveillance, but there is not much public evidence yet on this application area.