Indoor Drone Systems in Warehouses Can Help Reduce CO2 Emissions
Indoor Drones help in Reducing CO2 Emission. Here’s How:
Most camera drones, built for outdoor use, feature GPS, which becomes useless indoors. They also have cameras designed for aerial photography rather than First Person View (FPV) piloting, and excessively powerful radio control systems. The best drones for outdoor photography might also be a bit big and heavy for the average home.
Far better to use a craft suited to indoor use. If they’re small and light, making the indoor world seems bigger by comparison. They generally feature propeller guards to avoid any damage to the drone, furniture, people or pets nearby, and ideally a camera with a wide field of view.
But the question is how they help to reduce CO2 emissions?
Increasing Inventory Accuracy and Impact on CO2 Emissions
As the demand for personalized, on-demand deliveries continues to soar, autonomous technologies don’t make just the lives of warehouse workers easier anymore. COVID-19 has brought online shopping to new highs. It’s imperative for companies to incorporate smart tech into every step of the e-commerce cycle, not just to thrive, but survive.
These indoor drone systems allow warehouses to fully automate inventory checks with the goal of achieving a zero-error warehouse.
The indoor drones fly autonomously in a warehouse facility, gathering data on pallet locations and systematically comparing actual pallet state in the physical warehouse to data stored in the warehouse management software. To put it in brief, the drones are automating previously manual inventory validation efforts, completing a tedious job for a fraction of the cost, at a much higher frequency and more reliably.
While a Move from 98% to 100% Count Accuracy May Not Seem Significant at First, the Quantity of CO2 and CO2-equivalent (together CO2e) Emissions That can be Saved is Striking.
About 11% of inventory count inaccuracies resulted in inventory write-offs. When goods are written off, they are re-ordered and need to be re-produced, resulting in emissions that could have been avoided if the physical inventory had been tracked accurately.
Warehouses storing perishable goods like fruit or meat as well as pharmaceuticals are particularly hurt by write-offs. When an inventory error is not found quickly enough, goods are no longer safe to use and have to be scrapped.
These same warehouses typically have high inventory turnover, which means that they service products many times their storage capacity in a given year. For example, a warehouse with 10,000 pallet locations used for food and fast-moving consumer goods may have a turnover time of one week. With an average utilization of 85%, that warehouse will turn over 52×10,000×85% = 442,000 pallets of product per year.
CO2e emissions differ widely by product type. For example, while writing off a pallet of bananas will result in 270 kilograms of CO2e emissions, a pallet of beef will result in 24 tons – a factor 86 more.
This is the premise by which have conducted our latest sustainability report. Our estimates reflect the greenhouse gas reduction potential estimates for Indoor Drone System for inventory automation and are based solely on the avoidance of CO2e emissions associated with the inventory write-offs.
With about 2 billion pallets in circulation in the U.S. alone, warehousing is a massive industry – and a 2% warehouse error rate is decidedly too high for businesses and for our planet.
Impact on CO2 Emissions Reductions – Beyond Inventory Accuracy
The indoor drone inventory check to a 100,000-pallet-location warehouse, is seeing up to 20,000 tons of CO2e emissions savings per year. But the sustainability impact doesn’t stop there. In addition to 100% accuracy of inventory checks, the following factors create an even stronger case for reduced emissions and sustainability:
- System’s ability to perform work in complete darkness, reducing the required lighting used in a warehouse facility.
- Reduction of mobile elevating work platforms currently required to manually scan pallets on upper levels, reducing not only electricity consumption but also the emissions associated with the production and maintenance of such equipment.
- Improved planning and reorder points, eliminating ordering and storage of excess inventory currently necessary to cover inaccuracies.
- Reduction of inventory theft by automatically checking for missing items daily and immediately reporting any discrepancies found. Inventory theft is a significant problem today and causes CO2e emissions due to stock shortages triggering reorders.
- Reductions of CO2e emissions related directly to automating manual labor, which covers a broad range of categories, including emissions due to daily commuting requirements for workers, production and running cost of facilities dedicated to workers (warehouse heating, cafeteria, and amenities, etc.), and indirect CO2e emissions related to human work.
- Improved safety and ergonomics in warehouse facilities and related reduction of CO2e emissions by avoiding emergency situations and long-term health costs for warehouse workers.