- Feilidh Dwyer | WeTalkUAV
In our increasingly fast-paced world, the demand from consumers to receive goods and services as quickly as possible has never been greater.
In 2013, world’s richest man and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that within a few years, Amazon would be delivering packages by drone. In the five years since , the technology has greatly progressed but legislation and the practical realities of controlling and regulating hundreds if not thousands of UAVs flying through the streets have not yet been fully figured out. As such, the capability for drones to deliver goods and services is there but the implementation of the concept has not yet been fully realized.
This month the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Amazon the exclusive right to produce their specialized “aerial delivery shroud” an idea that could change the delivery market game.
What is it and how does it work?
The best way to imagine how this will work in practice, is to imagine a giant slinky dropping down from beneath the delivery drone. The chutes, made of soft but tough material would automatically deploy when in close proximity to a package’s delivery location. As the package is released from the drone, the chute would slow its descent, facilitating the parcel’s gentle drop onto someone’s doorstep, balcony or garden.
The exact dimensions of the delivery chute would depend on the size of the packages being delivered.
One of the immediate advantages of such an idea would be to reduce the sound the drone makes. Anyone who has been near any UAV knows how loud they are. A sure-fire way to get people annoyed and turned off to drone deliveries would be to have loud drones regularly buzzing right outside people’s homes. With the delivery chute, the drones would remain higher in the sky, making them somewhat quieter. Additionally, keeping the drone in the sky for longer, rather than taking off and landing would presumably that could deliver more packages in less time.
Amazon are but one player in the drone delivery market with companies like UPS, DHL, IBM and even Dominos all working to crack what could be a very lucrative market, once all the necessary regulations and logistics are firmly in place.
Amazon Prime delivery drones can carry packages of up to 5 lbs (2.2 kg) at speeds up to 100 mph (160 kph). It is an attractive option for the world’s largest retailer which according to Business Insider, spent $20 billion on shipping costs in 2017. The drones are primarily intended for short-distances deliveries (under a mile).
For related stories – check out whether drones could be a solution to India’s long-haul delivery woes or how IBM filed a patent for a coffee delivery drone.
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Original article on WeTalkUAV, here.
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