Expanding Operations for Drone Delivery

Across the world, consumers, businesses and governments are demanding more from their delivery services. Whether it’s same-day e-commerce deliveries, the swift transportation of equipment between industrial sites or urgent drops of medical supplies, expectations are rising across the board. Fast and efficient, drone cargo delivery is poised to meet this demand.

Gartner predicts that 2026 will see over 1 million drones making retail deliveries, while McKinsey estimates there were over 1 million commercial drone deliveries in 2023. But that’s only the start. In this post, we’ll look at scaling up the drone delivery sector: why it matters, some of the key considerations, and how operators can leverage technology and strategic partnerships to set drone delivery soaring.

Key Considerations for Scaling Drone Delivery

Successful drone delivery requires navigating a delicate balance between payload capacity, coverage area, speed, and battery life. To scale up delivery operations, drones need to be able to carry more cargo and travel longer distances. However, operators need to weigh these requirements against limited battery life, as well as take external factors like weather conditions into account.

Solutions are emerging. For example, drone companies might explore hardware improvements to increase payload capacity, establish recharging stations along popular routes to extend battery life, or work with regulators to unlock beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations and expand coverage areas.

Leveraging Technology for Growth

Technology plays a major role in scaling up drone delivery. Drone hardware is improving all the time: advances in materials have led to more lightweight drone bodies, which increases the payload capacity of the drone. Protective coatings and nanocoatings further improve performance, while next-generation batteries help to extend flight times.

On the software side, automation tools are pushing the boundaries of what a drone can do without human intervention. Artificial intelligence and data analytics help drones make decisions in real time, navigating complex environments and adapting to weather conditions. This means that drone companies can safely increase the number of drones per operator—the key to scaling up operations. Drone Delivery Canada is leading the way in this respect, with our Operations Control Centre that allows individual operators to safely support multiple drones at the same time.

Forging Strategic Partnerships

Delivery drones cannot operate in a vacuum. They need physical infrastructure: DroneSpots™ for landing and takeoff, storage facilities for package deliveries and charging stations for batteries. It’s therefore essential to partner with logistics companies and retailers to successfully integrate drone operations into the delivery ecosystem.

Scaling up also depends on drone operators forging partnerships with regulatory bodies. With large numbers of drones potentially sharing the same airspace, drone companies will need to work with regulators to establish traffic management guidelines so that everyone can operate safely in the sky.

Navigating Regulatory Compliance

Drone delivery expansion is only possible if it’s backed by robust regulation. To scale up, operators need to comply with aviation authorities and navigate an evolving regulatory landscape that encompasses privacy and safety concerns, as well as the use of airspace.

Until recently, advances in drone technology had outpaced regulations. Recently, however, a regulatory framework has been coming together. In June 2023, for example, Canada became one of the first countries in the world to announce proposed Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) drone rules, and in September, the Federal Aviation Authority in the US granted its first BVLOS approvals. These developments will allow drones to fly further than ever before and open up significant opportunities to grow operations.

The Innovation Frontier: DDC & YEG

Drone Delivery Canada is an award-winning drone technology company setting new standards for growth and innovation in the cargo drone delivery industry.

Among DDC’s collaborations is a drone delivery operation at Edmonton International Airport (YEG), transporting cargo between the airport and surrounding industrial areas. The project first became operational in May 2022 and was extended to a second phase in January 2024. DDC will expand the defined delivery route from YEG with an additional DroneSpot™ at a medical clinic located in the city of Leduc, Alberta. The extended project is a collaboration between DDC, YEG, BBE Expediting Ltd., Apple Express Courier Ltd., the Montana First Nation, Leduc County and the City of Leduc.

Operational Challenges and Solutions

As with any business, growth brings its own operational challenges. For drone companies, these include managing a larger fleet, as well as optimizing route planning.

Here are a few practical solutions to explore:

  • Invest in fleet management software to store and track information including maintenance logs, pilot profiles, and paperwork such as certifications, insurance and registration.
  • Establish robust processes and comprehensive training programs so that you can operate safely at scale.
  • Efficient and cost-effective drone delivery means minimizing the delivery times and maximizing the coverage area. Software can help you plot collision-free routes that optimize battery life and resources.

Scaling Responsibly: Environmental and Social Impact

While drone delivery is widely considered a more sustainable alternative to traditional delivery methods, it’s important to consider the environmental and social implications. To operate sustainably, drone companies need to take active steps to reduce noise pollution, and continually push for hardware improvements in this area. Physical infrastructure and drone routes should also be planned with environmental impact in mind.

It’s important to build public trust in drone deliveries. Consumers are concerned about the privacy and safety risks of drones flying overhead, particularly in residential areas. Drone companies should engage with communities and integrate public feedback into their scale-up plans.


The buzz around drone deliveries is driving up expectations, and drone companies need to expand their operations to meet demand. Achieving growth is not without its challenges, but leveraging technology, building strategic partnerships, and complying with regulations all pave the way for drones to fulfill their huge potential.

DDC is at the forefront of the industry, providing an advanced drone logistics solution for governments, commercial and industrial enterprises, and remote communities. Contact us to find out how our proprietary software and industrial-grade drones can transform your logistics operations.