Show the advantages of flexibility, convenience, safety and efficiency during the epidemic

UAV delivery "falls from the sky" not only to be fast but also "stable"

  Chen Xi

  In recent years, the intelligent logistics system, one of the important landing scenarios of artificial intelligence, has accelerated its development. As an important branch of the intelligent logistics system, drone logistics is the result of mechanization, automation, and intelligent development. Although the use of drones for cargo transportation is nothing new, it seems that there is still some distance before the air logistics actually go into daily life.

  The development of the new coronary pneumonia epidemic is undoubtedly accelerating this process. Recently, Amazon Express delivery staff in the United States said that they could strike because they could not maintain a safe distance during the delivery process. In contrast, Google drones have come in handy, doubling the business volume.

  The pace of life is constantly accelerating, people are increasingly demanding the transportation efficiency of logistics distribution, and more and more companies are beginning to use drones for distribution to break through the restrictions of ground transportation. In this epidemic, under the background of the sharp increase in the pressure of material transportation and the outbreak of non-contact distribution demand, the unmanned aerial vehicle has demonstrated the flexible, convenient, safe and efficient distribution value. In the future, with the breaking of bottlenecks in technology, cost, policy, etc., the era of drone delivery may gradually approach.

Three key technologies support UAV logistics distribution

  For highly dynamic, real-time, and opaque mission environments, drones can sense the surrounding environment and avoid obstacles, maneuver flexibly, and fault-tolerant flight; according to mission requirements, drones can autonomously plan flight paths, autonomously identify target attributes, use natural Language and people ...

  In fact, to achieve the above operation of the UAV can not do without the support of three technologies. "At present, UAV data link system, UAV flight control navigation system (Flight Control), and UAV autonomous control technology are the three most critical technologies to achieve UAV logistics distribution." Tianjin Huading Technology Co., Ltd. Technology Flight Bi Ye, Minister of Technology, said.

  According to reports, the UAV data link is the link between the aircraft and the ground system, which is responsible for the remote control, telemetry, tracking and positioning and sensor transmission of the UAV. It is a multi-mode intelligent communication system that can perceive the electromagnetic environment characteristics of its working area, and dynamically adjust the working parameters of the communication system in real time according to the environmental characteristics and communication requirements to achieve the purpose of reliable communication. "This technology is a key support to meet the logistics distribution of future UAV groups. With the increasing accuracy of onboard sensors, positioning and the complexity of performing tasks, laser communication methods may also appear in the future when performing tasks around the clock. "Bi Ye said."

  "Flight control is the core system of the UAV to complete the entire flight process such as takeoff, aerial flight, mission execution and return to the field, which is equivalent to the pilot. The navigation system provides the UAV with the position, speed and flight attitude of the reference coordinate system, Guiding the UAV to fly according to the designated route is equivalent to the pilot in the man-machine system. "Bi Ye introduced.

  Autonomous control technology is also a key UAV technology, including situational awareness technology, planning and collaboration technology, autonomous decision-making technology and so on. This system obtains various information, and the equipment independently models the task environment, including the extraction of three-dimensional environment features and situation assessment, so as to achieve path planning and collaborative control. Bi Ye said that the drone's path selection and re-planning capabilities must be possessed by the drone's autonomous control system.

Both policy and technology bottlenecks restrict the pace of commercialization

  As early as 2014, the Google X department launched the first drone delivery service. At the end of 2019, the Google drone delivery service was certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration. In China, in October 2019, the Civil Aviation Administration of China issued the "Drone Logistics Distribution Operation License" to Hangzhou Senda Logistics Technology Co., Ltd., which belongs to Xunyi Company, which is the first urban logistics drone trial operation in China. "License", and subsequently, large fixed-wing UAVs developed by, SF Express, etc. were also put into use.

  "From a nationwide perspective, the drone logistics distribution market has just started." Honorary Fellow of the French European Academy of Sciences, World UAV

  Yang Jincai, chairman of the Federation and chairman of the Shenzhen UAV Industry Association, said that there are currently no more than 10 commercial drone logistics companies.

  According to Bai Zilong, general manager of Tianjin Huading Technology Co., Ltd., from a technical perspective, drone logistics delivery needs to be "stable" in addition to "fast". The problem of endurance has always been the pain point of drones, and the application of drones to the field of logistics and distribution is of paramount importance. The specific energy of the power battery (the energy that can be provided by the device per unit of mass / volume) is an important indicator. For each additional kilogram of load, the drone's flight time will be shortened by a factor of two. In addition, in different flight environments, the configuration requirements of sensors for different uses of UAVs are also different. By installing an obstacle avoidance function module and integrating an approach sensor and a flight control system, the drone can be prevented from crashing.

  In terms of navigation, the current UAV-based navigation systems are mainly divided into two types: non-autonomous (GPS, etc.) and autonomous (inertial guidance), but they have the disadvantages of being susceptible to interference and increased error accumulation. A variety of navigation technologies (inertia + multi Sensor + GPS + photoelectric navigation system), the use of filter operation mode will be the direction of future development.

  "From a policy point of view, the application of drones cannot avoid the problem of airspace management." Bai Zilong believes that, for a long time, it is difficult to achieve large-scale commercial operation of drones distribution. "At present, the opening of routes must undergo strict daily approval, that is, in addition to route approval, permission must be obtained the day before takeoff, and then approval must be confirmed again on the day of takeoff. From a practical perspective, airspace management in urban areas is more strict, There is also a lot of room for optimization in the airspace and flight plan approval procedures. "

  In addition, drone flying in the air also requires traffic management. For example, drone delivery is inseparable from over-the-horizon flight and flying over the crowd. At present, foreign countries generally prohibit drone over-the-horizon flight and flying over the crowd unless they can be exempted by the regulatory agency. Therefore, the laws and regulations, operating standards, management systems, etc. of drone logistics and delivery need to be further explored.

Contactless distribution may become the future development trend

  During the epidemic, courier companies in Wuhan, Hubei used drones to successfully land medical and anti-epidemic materials at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, indicating that drones have their advantages in logistics and transportation under restricted traffic conditions and closed management. Unique role. Yang Jincai said: "The epidemic has brought opportunities and challenges and laid the foundation for the next step in the popularization of drones. After the epidemic, the logistics and distribution of drones will definitely have great development."

  "The unmanned aerial vehicle logistics and distribution are playing an important role in epidemic prevention and control, and this industry has attracted more capital and talents attention, laying a good foundation for future development." Bai Zilong said that contactless distribution may become the future development trend. At a press conference held recently by the Joint Defense and Joint Control Mechanism of the State Council, Bian Zuodong, Deputy Director of the Market Supervision Department of the State Post Bureau, said that unmanned delivery, including smart express boxes, drones, and unmanned vehicles, will become a postal express One of the development trends of terminal services.

  Recently, the Guangxi Hezhou government approached the Shenzhen Drone Industry Association and raised the need to help solve the problem of drone logistics and distribution: due to business needs, the local gold and jewelry industrial park has to send a large amount of jewelry to Luohu, Shenzhen, which requires strong timeliness. It takes six to seven hours for freight cars to travel on the road, which is not only slow, but also very risky. They need to be escorted. If you use drone logistics, the voyage will only take more than an hour, which is very convenient.

  "Using unmanned aerial vehicles for distribution under suitable scenarios can increase the efficiency by 60% -70%, and save costs by more than 60%. From the current actual situation, commercial batch mid-distance transportation, the most efficient use of unmanned aircraft distribution, the original Commodities that cannot be airlifted due to distance issues can also be airlifted. "Bai Zilong said when looking into the future of drone applications, the logistics industry of fresh food and medical cold chain will enter a new speed grade due to the gradual popularization of drones; In areas with relatively complicated geological conditions, no matter it is a mountain or an island, or even a place where it is difficult to repair roads, more materials can be transported and supplied with drones. In the future, urban drone logistics distribution will deliver some high-value items with high timeliness requirements to the B end (organization or enterprise).

  "5G can support the real-time transmission of 4K high-definition video and other data collected by the drone. Wherever you go, you can also greatly reduce the flight control delay of the drone, which meets the performance requirements of remotely controlling drone flight. "Yang Jincai said that with the low-altitude opening in the future and the advent of the 5G era, this industry will be greatly improved and expanded." Drone logistics distribution is a ticket to the next era, and with the continuous progress of technology, the pace of landing of the drone business is believed to be faster and faster, and a new era of logistics is coming.