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Media TIp | Argonne National Laboratory

Media Tip: Argonne drops data on the question of efficient drone use for e-commerce deliveries

Many businesses are considering drones to deliver products to customers. Now, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has developed new capabilities to identify suitable drone delivery locations by comparing the energy consumption of delivery drones with conventional diesel and battery electric vehicles.

Analyzing the Chicago metropolitan area, researchers found that on an average day, direct delivery drones required approximately the same energy as electric vehicles. On a very windy day, drones needed 15% more energy than diesel trucks.

Analysis of wind speeds is key to the story. Drones used less energy than diesel trucks until the wind speed reached 20 mph; however, wind speed needed to reach only 10 mph before drones began to use more energy than electric vehicles. The Chicago study considered extreme cases, where drones would directly face the wind both from the depot to customers and on their return commutes.

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Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.