Relevant Research

Drone in Warehouse

Drone in Warehouse

feasibility of Warehouse drone Adoption and implementation

Companik, Edward, Michael J. Gravier, and M. Theodore Farris II (2018), “Feasibility of Warehouse Drone Adoption and Implementation,” Journal of Transportation Management 28(2), 33-50


While aerial delivery drones capture headlines, the pace of adoption of drones in warehouses has shown the greatest acceleration. Warehousing constitutes 30% of the cost of logistics in the US. The rise of e-commerce, greater customer service demands of retail stores, and a shortage of skilled labor have intensified competition for efficient warehouse operations. This takes place during an era of shortening technology life cycles. This paper integrates several theoretical perspectives on technology diffusion and adoption to propose a framework to inform supply chain decision-makers on when to invest in new robotics technology


Warehouse drones represent a fundamental shift in supply chain management in several ways. Operationally, warehouse drones improve warehouse functionality by better utilizing available space, reducing production downtime, reducing labor turnover and downtime, improving health and safety, increasing warehouse flexibility, and increasing productivity output. These benefits argue in favor of adoption of warehouse drone technology especially as costs continue to diminish as the industry matures.

Motives for Intransigence

Despite the advantages of warehouse drones and robotics, certain issues create intransigence when it comes to adopting the new technology. Positive leadership support represents the single most important factor for bringing a knowledge or data-related initiative successfully to fruition (Patil and Kant, 2014). While 75% of executives assert the importance of digital transformation across the supply chain, 48% still use non-digital (phone, fax, email) communications; only 15% can access the majority of needed data from trading partners, and 23% have the ability to analyze the data to make better supply chain decisions (Dougados and Felgendreher, 2016). When the same group of 337 executives from across multiple industries were asked to forecast five years into the future, 68% expected that data from across the majority of trading partners in the supply chain will be available to be analyzed and 54% expect to have access to the majority of needed data from their trading partners—indicating that technology is expected to advance rapidly throughout supply chains.

Drone in Warehouse

Drone in Warehouse


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Customer Solutions & Innovation

Represented by Matthias Heutger, Senior Vice President Strategy, Marketing & Development, DHL CSI 53844 Troisdorf, Germany


Another imaginable intralogistics application is the use of UAVs inside the warehouse environment for more flexible and accessible high-bay storage. For example, a Fraunhofer IML research project investigates the use of a UAV platform for indoor and outdoor flights

This concept is based on the Internet of Things, focusing on self-organization of machines and interaction among systems. The sensors allow the system to independently observe and analyze the surrounding environment so that the UAV is able to navigate through a warehouse, find logistical objects and carry out an inventory check. The information collected is also transmitted to third-party systems via intelligent interfaces and services. This allows the direct transfer of selected context-related information.

Drone in Warehouse

Drone in Warehouse

Hybrid Aerial and Ground-based Mobile Robot for Retail Inventory

A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Auburn University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Auburn, Alabama August 4, 2018 by Yibo Lyu

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is increasingly used in retail stores and warehouses because it can help to improve the inventory process, enable automatic checkout, and reduce shoplifting. This dissertation introduces two related robotic systems that are designed to support RFID-based inventory counting; the first is a ground-based mobile robot, and the second is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The UAV is intended to supplement the vertical reach of the ground vehicle.