Survey Says… What Most People Really Think About Drones


The United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General (USPSOIG) has released a report detailing what the public really thinks about drones.

The report is the result of an online survey targeting 18-75 year olds in an effort to  “understand the current state of public opinion on drone delivery,” the report says.  “Topics covered by the survey included the overall appeal of drone technology, its most and least interesting applications, the believability of claims about its potential benefits, the public’s expected timeframe for implementation, potential concerns, and how the public would view drone delivery if it were offered by five prominent players in the logistics and technology fields.”  The USPS believes that drone delivery could be a way of shifting focus in order to revive their falling business.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Drones are on the horizon: The American public anticipates that drone delivery will be offered within the next 5 to 10 years.
  • An ambiguous reception: More Americans like the concept of drone delivery than dislike it, but a large number have yet to decide.
  • Americans do not yet trust drone technology: Drone malfunction is the public’s primary concern — far more than fears about intentional misuse.
  • Different groups have notably different perspectives: Different age groups, genders, important postal customer groups, geographic regions, and residents of urban, suburban, and rural areas all display differing levels of interest in drone delivery.
  • Knowledge drives enthusiasm: Exposure to information about drone delivery correlates with greater interest in
    the idea.
  • Speedy delivery piques the public’s interest: 1-hour delivery is the public’s most interesting application, and delivery speed is the technology’s most believable benefit. Emergency delivery also garners interest.
  • Too soon to launch: It may be too soon for any organization to offer drone delivery, as offering the service now leads to a drag on overall brand positivity.
  • Drone Delivery could improve the Postal Service’s ratings as an innovative company: Despite its drag on overall brand positivity, association with drone delivery makes the Postal Service look more innovative.

Broken out by sector, the report concluded that the biggest differentiator in how people viewed drone delivery was age: only 24% of baby boomers viewed drones positively, compared to 65% of millennials.  In addition, the most appealing application for drone delivery was the concept of 1 hour delivery, topping the list over emergency delivery and delivery to remote areas.

Despite the “ambiguous reception” that the idea of drones received, the report does say that most Americans view the application as “inevitable” and see drones in their future.

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