Future of Shopping is Here – Delivered by Drone !
Drone deliveries are the next stage of evolution in the commercial usage of drones. Drones can be used to make fast, reliable and on-demand delivery of goods to specified locations, regardless of physical connectivity and even road conditions.
There are already several examples of drones being used to deliver products to consumers. Matternet in Switzerland uses drones to deliver medical packages to drone-enabled stations called Matternet stations. The company recently announced it will start a permanent autonomous drone network in Switzerland to transport lab samples between hospital facilities, clinics, and labs. In a similar vein, Starship Technologies is using ground-based delivery drones to deliver food and groceries. Up until now, these operations depend on complimentary infrastructure (roads, addresses) to find the recipients and ensure successful delivery.
However, this could change very soon. Cambridge Consultants has unveiled a concept drone, The DelivAir, which could be used for immediate, time-constrained and precision deliveries, especially to an individual, rather than a location. DelivAir uses a two-stage process (patent applied) to determine the exact location of the customer.
Initially, the customer uses his mobile phone to select and order his requirements. The GPS signal from the phone is used to lock on to the customer’s location. When the drone reaches the vicinity of the location, it uses optical 3D tracking to pinpoint the customer. The customer then uses his phone’s rear camera LED to transmit a code that the drone uses to identify the customer. The order is the slowly dropped by the drone.
The researchers at Cambridge Consultants believe that precision technology could provide the next step change in how everyday/emergency items are made available to consumers. While the potential to shape e-commerce delivery in future is one of the obvious benefits, drones could also be used to deliver emergency/life saving drugs and instruments within a short span of time, thus assisting in critical care.
For all practical purposes, DelivAir is likely to remain a concept in the near future, until legislation allows drones to be flown in built up areas.