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Open AccessArticle

A Comparative Analysis of the Environmental Benefits of Drone-Based Delivery Services in Urban and Rural Areas

by Jiyoon Park 1, Solhee Kim 2 and Kyo Suh 3,*
1
College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 03080, Korea
2
Institute of Green Bio Science Technology, Seoul National University, Pyeongchang 25354, Korea
3
Graduate School of International Agricultural Technology, and Institute of Green Bio Science Technology, Seoul National University, Pyeongchang 25354, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030888
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, drones) used as delivery vehicles have received increasing attention due to their mobility and accessibility to remote areas. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the environmental impacts of drone versus motorcycle delivery and to compare the expected environmental improvements due to drone delivery in urban and rural areas. In addition, the potential environmental contributions of electric motorcycles were assessed to determine the effects of introducing this new type of vehicle. Changes in the national electricity generation plan were also examined. The results showed that global warming potential (GWP) per 1 km delivery by drone was one-sixth that of motorcycle delivery, and the particulates produced by drone delivery were half that of motorcycle delivery. The actual environmental impact reduction in consideration of the delivery distance was 13 times higher in a rural area than in an urban area. Increasing the use of environmentally friendly electricity systems, such as solar and wind power, would further enhance the environmental effects of a drone delivery system. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV; life cycle assessment; delivery; logistics; environmental impact UAV; life cycle assessment; delivery; logistics; environmental impact
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Park, J.; Kim, S.; Suh, K. A Comparative Analysis of the Environmental Benefits of Drone-Based Delivery Services in Urban and Rural Areas. Sustainability 2018, 10, 888.

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