Drones in passenger and freight transport

In future drones can be deployed in certain passenger and freight transport markets in the Netherlands. Speed is a key advantage of using drones instead of conventional alternatives, such as delivery vans, airplanes or cars. People will pay more to use drones. Although in absolute terms this could involve large numbers of drone flights, it will pertain to niche markets, as relative to the total volume of passenger and freight transport.

The premium segment of parcel delivery is an example of a niche market, in which consumers and companies will be willing to pay more for fast delivery. However, when speed is not important, delivery vans routinely remain more efficient from a cost perspective. Consequently, they will continue to be widely used in parcel delivery. The premium segment comprises 1 to 1.5 percent of the total European parcel market.

If drones are to develop, technological development and social acceptance are crucial. Conflicts of interest may arise between economic opportunities and security and privacy concerns. The emergence of drones also has consequences for the Dutch skyline and spatial planning in the Netherlands.

These are the main findings of the report Drones in passenger and freight transport. The KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis conducted this research on behalf of the Aviation Directorate of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.