Delivery with drones is hot right now. In the US,Panies like Walmart and Amazon are leading the way. In addition to the industry rollout, there is a slew of innovations in technology and hardware solutions that enhance and improve the delivery experience.
Drone deck drone docking stations
I raised the challenge of what I call “the final steps” to get the package to the customer. This becomes especially challenging if they don’t have a backyard where they can be easily dropped off.
American company Drone deck may just have the solution.
The company has patented a connected, climate-controlled, solar-powered drone docking station. This allows mailboxes to receive both parcels and food deliveries.
The drone lands on the box and drops the package into the box, which the customer later opens with an app.
The drone can also use the dock to recharge its batteries. The mailboxes are is currently being followed in Lawrence, Indianapolis.
Carry, drop and deliver
It comes with an innovative tether system that makes it possible to deliver goods without landing or descending below the tree line, keeping them in line with Part 107 requirements.
A2Z Drone Delivery CEO Aaron Zhang told me that the system could reliably deliver the container to the ground and automatically release it every time.
Further, according to Zhang, the tethered delivery system “also means the package can be delivered without a person receiving it, giving the shipper more flexibility and preventing people from interacting with the drone.”
Customers are protectors of spinning propellers and also remove the privacy and noise concerns of low-flying drones.
Drones that take off from vans and talk to robots
At the end of July, car manufacturer Ford published a patent for hardware that allows vans to directly launch and control drones.
Currently, drones mainly operate from manned stationary hubs, with each drone having to return to the central base to pick up the next delivery.
According to the Ford patent, instead of a van driving to each residence, drones could launch from a docking station on top of a van and transport goods to customers.
Drones can also communicate with each other to determine the closest drones to each customer’s address and send them in for delivery.
Ford is not the first company to operate in this space. Amazon published a similar patent last year for delivery robots.
And Walmart recently patent pending for an ambitious plan where delivery robots and drones tag a team to deliver goods.
A delivery robot can be stopped by a roadblock or a locked gate at a customer’s home. In response, it communicates with a drone and instructs it to retrieve the item using a “grab mechanism” and then complete the delivery by flying to the customer.
The delivery robot would also come with a charger that can supply the drone with juice.
The delivery drone industry is currently evolving at a high speed. With ever-increasing technological advancements, along with the gradual expansion of regulations, the sky of the future will look vastly different from what we experience today.