Re: Drones for delivery
I'd like to think it's possible, I own a medium sized quad myself, used primarily for aerial photography and screwing around in the sky.
Remember it's only been a few years since the advent of LiPo batteries that are capable of providing the many Amps needed for flight without melting, and maintain flight for, on average for me at least 15 mins with a reasonable load underneath (5000mah battery).
That makes a 7.5 minute fly out time, and the same in reverse. As for pushing my quad as fast as it'll go, that drains some more battery life, but I'm easily making around 30-40mph. I can't be arsed to do the maths, but that accounts for a pretty small area of effect TODAY, as for tomorrow with better battery technology, I don't see how it couldn't cover at least 15-20 miles. As always battery tech seems to be the limiting factor.
Plus I don't buy the whole, "no landing sites" argument. When I first tested my quad after fitting the GPS module I tried out a return-to-home operation. I cocked up and didn't know how to take it out of RTH failsafe mode, it guided its way through some tight fitting gaps and landed, realising obstacles in the way as it attempted to land, and that's with a simple altimeter, not a downfacing radar or anything sophisticated.
I reckon even with todays tech that a quad needs no more than about 6 square feet patch with line of sight to the sky, plus future brains can work out whether it's flat enough to land safely.
The benefits are easy to see, no traffic to sit in and add to, a relatively straight line route to your destination, you're pretty much guaranteed to be using an awful lot LESS energy than a hefty great delivery van, only hauling the smaller products, not to mention ultra quick delivery times.