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Drone delivery mailbox could bag $1m prize

By Dan Wilson December 1, 2014 - 2:25 am

An idea called Skynet (!?!) is developing a drone delivery mailbox that has made the semi-finals of the $1m Drones for Good competition.

As Amazon and others moot the possibilities of future delivery by drone, some of the practicalities present problems. Step forward the entrepreneurs: introducing Clinton Burchat.

He’s conceptualised a special delivery receiving system so that even those without backyards and gardens can enjoy the future convenience of a delivery drone.

He explains it it all in the video below. What do you reckon?

  • james
    2 years ago

    Not just skynet, that delivery was going to “Connor, S.”

    combine this with Cyberdyne, a Japanese company building robotic exoskeletons for pensioners.

    do people think the Terminator Series is some kind of advert for robots and Artificial Intelligence? embrace your future overlords!

  • 2 years ago

    Interesting. However in the video the package is shown sticking up out of the Net. Surely one of the problems with couriers leaving parcels on such as Doorsteps is that neighbours, passers by etc can see them and perhaps nick them. Also as the video appears to be set in California or Arizona they probably have not taken into account the weather. Imagine coming home to find your Skynet delivered package is now sodden as it has been raining all day(not unusual in the UK).

    My suggestion would be for a larger ‘Mailbox’ type receiver with a waterproof opening door. The drone arrives and identifies that it is the right place and it sends a message to the ‘Mailbox’ to open its door. The drone then delivers the package and once safely inside the much larger mailbox the sensors close the door again.

    Why should the mailbox be much larger? Well the ‘Skynet’ appeared big enough for one delivery. Where does the second or third delivery to the same address go? I take it that if the drone finds the ‘Skynet’ already full it cannot go next door and ask if they will look after the package until the customer gets home?

    • James
      2 years ago

      They’d just have to make sure the parcel is wrapped properly. As long as its sealed, a little bit of rain isnt going to hurt nobody.

      Now excuse the pun, but I really dont see this taking off.

      I myself have a fancy drone, and the limitations/issues are clear to see. Unless battery tech, wireless tech and the behaviour of half the worlds population changes drastically in the next few years then I dont see this working.

      I can see the drones plastered all over eBay already….

    • 2 years ago

      No matter how secure a parcel is I would still be wary about sending anything that is vulnerable to rain using this system. I sell books. Paper Books and Rain do not mix. But what about electrical goods and many other items. A little bit of rain maybe all right if the packaging is still totally secure. But what if it has been damaged, even slightly, and the rain is not just a little but torrential(which always seems to have its own methods of finding possible leaks)

  • Mark
    2 years ago

    Any system that requires customers to install special hardware to receive deliveries will have very few users. It is likely that these units would be limited to one drone delivery company.

    If this ever takes off it would only be used by businesses which have a need for regular drone deliveries.

    A major limitation of this system is that it only allows drones to deliver and not collect. This would limit the usefulness substantially (if collection was available it could be useful for low size high urgency use such as transporting blood samples from doctors’ surgeries to the lab).

    • 2 years ago

      Thinking about the suggestion of being able to pick up as well as deliver. A thought jumped into my mind. Years ago on the Railways the Mail Trains used to thunder through the countryside. They had nets built into the sides of the carriages and there were also nets built on the sides of the railways. When the train approached such a net the mail staff on the train would put the mailbags out for this location and the net and at speed the mailbags for this location were dropped off by the train and the ones for collection were picked up. If you have never seen film of it I can assure you that it is fascinating.

      What about something similar on the drones. I must admit that I found it hard to envisage how it would work on a drone but no doubt somebody a lot cleverer than me could come up with an answer. But it will never be as impressive as the good old much missed Mail Trains.

    • Mark
      2 years ago

      I was thinking of the mail trains (I had a working Hornby of them as a child). It is amazing that the priority post for a town could be contained within a couple of bags.

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