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Prototype pay-by-drone technology unveiled

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A prototype payment by drone has been unveiled that, says Worldpay, could help combat the growing issue of parcel fraud.

Worldpay’s Drone Pay proof-of-concept uses EMV contactless payment card technology to verify the identity of the recipient, ensuring a parcel is delivered to the right person at the right address. The drone lands on a drone landing pad which acts as the customer’s doormat. When the drone lands to drop off the package, the card details stored within the doormat are read automatically. If the information matches that of the correct recipient, the parcel is released.

Here’s a video showing the technology in action. 

Worldpay says Amazon, UPS and Domino’s are all experimenting with drones as a way of cutting costs and speeding up deliveries. But it cites Citizens Advice figures that suggest missing items were one of the most common problems with online shopping deliveries last year, with more than one in five (21%) online shoppers reporting the failed arrival of expected parcels.

The payments company commissioned Opinium research which questioned more than 20,000 consumers worldwide, including more than 2,000 in the UK. It found that UK shoppers are now at a tipping point for drone adoption: 39% are ready to embrace delivery by drones, compared to 34% hanging back.

Millennials are the most supportive, with nearly half (49%) of those aged 18-34 comfortable with the technology. Appetite for having a drone collect unwanted items is even stronger, with 41% of shoppers willing to try the technology for returns. Worldpay suggests that an ongoing overhaul of the UK’s air traffic control system means drone deliveries could become a reality as early as next year.

It sees advantages for both consumers, in the form of greater convenience, and for merchants, through reduced parcel fraud. 

Motie Bring, general manager for the UK, global enterprise ecommerce, at Worldpay, said: “There is undoubtedly a huge potential market for drone delivery when it becomes a reality. Along with cost-cutting benefits, drones could also be the answer to reducing congestion and pollution, and enabling faster delivery times. Our data suggests that consumers are becoming increasingly open to the notion of drone delivery, but there are still several logistical hurdles that need to be addressed before it becomes mainstay. The weight of the package and flying distance both remain potential barriers to adoption, in addition to ensuring that parcels are delivered to the correct customer.

“This is where payment technology will play an important role. By verifying the identity of the recipient before releasing the parcel, our proof of concept is an example of how technology can address the common problems associated with home delivery. The volume of parcels in transit will only increase, as shopping online increasingly becomes the channel of choice for UK consumers. Merchants should therefore explore new ways of innovating their supply chain capabilities, to keep pace with demand.”

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